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The Day Will Come
Photo: Angel Norris
Even from my seat toward the middle of the auditorium, I could see Linda’s eyes water. “Has it really been twenty-eight years?” she asked—more to herself than to those gathered at her retirement ceremony. Decades of conflicts and triumphs, of paperwork piles and project deadlines, of exciting new tasks and the lumbering routine now blended as a distant fog in a half-forgotten dream. She wondered aloud how the years could have passed as only a brief moment.

After the framed certificate and the engraved plaque are presented, the punch and cookies enjoyed in the foyer, life will move on. Tomorrow, younger employees will step into her many roles, and the organization will continue with business as usual.

“I thought this day would never come,” Linda tried to smile. “But here it is.”

While Linda spoke, my mind drifted. How many times have I said the same of my own dreams and hopes, “I thought this day would never come?” How many important events have passed before I knew they were close upon me? Birthdays, graduations, weddings, births, more weddings, more births. My life has moved nearly seamlessly from sunrise to sunset, seasons to years, anticipating—with barely muted excitement—one milestone and then another. All the while I’ve been too busy living life to notice the calendar pages disappearing like pebbles into a canyon.

My Final Milestone

I don’t often think about my final milestone. I hope to enjoy many more graduations, weddings, and births before I start thinking much about that particular day. Yet, when it comes, will the decades of my life also seem as a brief moment? The conflicts, the joys, the deadlines, the routines—life will move on without me, and Scripture will once again prove true: Only what I have done for Jesus Christ will matter. Everything else will be as worthless as scraps of wood and rubbish (1 Corinthians 3:6-15).

As Linda received her plaque, I wondered what kind of plaque I will receive when I stand before the Lord. Will it be engraved with the names of those whom I have touched during my service for the Master? Or will it be an empty testimony of misplaced priorities during my earthbound journey?

As I draw near to my fiftieth birthday, those questions whisper from the corners of my mind with increasing urgency. Life really is shorter than I realize, and everything I now hold dear—money, popularity, passions, career—on that day will stand like charred timbers after a house fire. Little wonder that the psalmist’s prayer becomes more meaningful to me each time I read it: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

When the day I thought would never come finally arrives, I hope to hear more than pleasant words at a ceremony. I hope to enjoy more than punch and cookies in the foyer. I hope to hear from the men and women words such as, “Thank you for using the time, the talents, and the resources God gave you to share with me.” And oh, how I hope to hear from God’s lips, “Well done, good and faithful servant! . . .Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23).

Have you given much thought to you last day? When it comes, how would you like it to be marked? Will you be surrounded by grateful men and women, the fruit of your life’s labor for Christ? Or will you be left clutching rotted garments and rusted coins? (See James 5: 1-3).

It is a weighty choice, overflowing with eternal consequences: Ourselves or Him? Repentance or rebellion? Righteous living or sin? No wonder Scripture urges us to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24: 15).

Please choose wisely, before that day you thought would never come arrives at your door, after which you no longer have a choice.

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By Richard Maffeo. Reprinted with persmission from Signs of the Times, December 2006. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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