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Reflections of the Past

            As I begin my retirement years it is only natural to reflect on one’s career. It feels good to remember one’s accomplishments and the legacy you have left behind. Although it may not feel as good remembering one’s failures, it is important to remember those as well. Learning from one’s mistakes and persevering through life’s difficulties are not only important for one’s spiritual (and professional) growth, but it gives opportunity to experience God’s faithfulness and providence.

            However, reflecting on past accomplishments may not always be a good thing. Resting too much on past accomplishments makes one complacent and ill-prepared to face new challenges. Using a business world illustration, this is one of the reasons why Blackberry failed. You remember the popular Blackberry smart phones back in the early 2000’s? The Blackberry smartphone was a powerful business tool that dominated the market. I believe one of the reasons for their downfall was that they were too confident of their past success and were not prepared to take on their future competition, the Apple iPhone. We all have friends who love to bring back the past. There is nothing wrong with looking at old pictures and reminiscing about good old times. It is good to celebrate past accomplishments and enjoy God’s goodness, for every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17). However, if that is all that we cling on  to, if that becomes our source of pride, our source of joy, we are missing the mark that Christ has called us to.

            Philippians 3:13-14 “…forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goals for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

            This is a verse that has given me direction through much of my Christian life. Occasionally, I may reflect on past accomplishments, but I will always approach it with gratitude and praise to our Heavenly Father. As I enter into retirement, I will forget what lies behind. I will not rest on past achievements lest I become obsolete like the Blackberry. Instead, I will look forward to seek different ways to serve and glorify Him in this next stage of life and won’t stop until I see Him face to face. In whatever stage of life you are at, I encourage us all to “press on toward the goals for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

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