I recently received a gift from a close friend. It was a bound book, it looked to be about 100 pages and it said Holy Bible on the cover. When I opened it up all the pages were blank. What is that all about?
First I thought it was like a diary or notebook to write down Bible based reflections. Then I thought it might have been a printing error. Confusion set in. All I could think about was the times in elementary school when the teacher would hand out blank pieces of paper and tell us to draw or write something. Often my page and those of my classmates, were left blank at the end of the allotted time. Blank pages told the story…. we had nothing to share, nothing to give and consequently, we did nothing. We got a failing grade…. that was what happened.
Shortly after receiving the book with the blank pages I got a call from the friend who sent it to me. He asked, “Did you get the book?” With a questioning lilt to my voice I answered, “Sure did but I don’t get it? What is it for? It says Holy Bible on the front!”
He laughed and said, “I was just trying to make a point. When God’s word is blank nothing happens. When it is fully present amazing things happen.” Breathing a sigh of relief, I agreed.
You see, my friend works for the Seed Company…. a Wycliffe associate. They are committed to bringing the Bible to the 1778 people groups and languages that have no verses of scripture in their heart language. They are, in fact, a subset of the 4500 people groups and languages that have only a part of the message that changes lives, gives life and informs our very being.
The blank pages tell the story. As we talked I was reminded of the parallel between the blank pages in the book and the blank pages in our lives when it comes to engaging with the last quarter of our lives. For so many, retirement is just a time of blank pages with a hope that there will be enough money to satisfy their own desires.
Like the value that comes when those blank pages are filled with living words, so too the blank pages of the last three stages of our life need to be filled with vision and purpose. When vision and purpose are real our lives are changed and those who we connect with, serve and or minister to have changed lives as well.
Living a life of blank pages without meaning or purpose are just that, blank. No color HD, just white sheets of paper. White sheets of paper waiting to be filled with meaning and purpose. Unfortunately, that vision, that connection with a fulfilled ministry for a lifetime, takes effort on our part. Effort to even be willing to open the book and then the willingness to start filling the pages.
When we end our life in God’s earthly kingdom and move on to the heavenly one, we will leave behind a book. Will it be filled with life-giving experiences and impact or will it have lots of blank pages? We choose. Choose wisely.
As a help along the way let’s re-define retirement in line with a Godly perspective. After all it is an extended time of ministry, it is in the future and it must be funded. Future Funded Ministry is a way to re-define retirement that challenges us to fill in the blanks and live out the messages on those otherwise blank pages.
Let’s continue this journey, exploring life together.