Lessons from Life
Weekly Message
  • In January, 2004, the "One Minute Message" was renamed "Lessons from Life".

    "I believe this new name will be more descriptive of this message, and more in keeping with its mission and purpose. I hope you find it to be an encouragement in your life!"     - Randall Vaughn

Title:   The Most Important Thing
By Randall Vaughn

"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. (Phil 3:13-15 NIV)"

When I was in business as a financial planner some years ago, I always shared a quotation from Oliver Wendell Holmes with my clients . He said,

"The most important thing is not so much where you are, but in what direction you are going."

I have found this to be true in almost every area of life.   It applies in a financial planning environment, and it also applies in spiritual matters.

Looking back over your life, it would easy to regret certain decisions that you have made, events that have occurred, or situations that have imposed themselves upon you.

But regardless of how you got to where you are in life at this moment, the unchangeable fact is that you are here.   How you got to this place is not so important as the fact that you are here, and being here is not as important as the direction in which you are heading.

I used to keep a map in my office and at the beginning of an interview, I would point to the map and explain to my clients that financial planning is much like planning a trip. You absolutely must know two things in order to plan a successful trip.   One is to know where you are now.   The other is to know where you want to go.   Then and only then can you devise a plan as to how you will get to your destination.

Once you determine those to essential things, you can plan the route you wish to take.   I would continue, "Do you want to fly, drive, take a bus, or take a train?   Do you want to take a direct route, or take the "scenic route"?   Whatever way you go, you absolutely MUST know where you are and where you want to go."

So, how does this "apply" spiritually?  Read Phil. 3:13-15 (above) again.

Your past is over.  You cannot bring it back.  You cannot change it.  It is fixed.  That is why it is called "the past".  Keep it there.   Do not spend precious time regretting decisions, events, or situations.  Understand its place in your life.  Your past is what it took to get you where you are today.  That is its value.  Accept that, and learn to appreciate it.

Regardless of where you are spiritually, you are there.  How you got there is essentially irrelevant at this point.  Where you are now is important to you because it is the place from which you will determine where you are going.   And that is the most important thing of all.

I have what some consider to be a harsh view, but I believe it is a correct one:

"Either run the race to win, or do not run at all."

To determine where you are going spiritually requires brutal self-examination and evaluation and pitiless honesty (plus a lot of courage) to admit to yourself the truth you will find.

Are you just "existing" in your relationship with God, or are you actively and aggressively pursuing a deeper relationship with and understanding of Him?  Are you "press(ing) on toward the goal" or do you even have a goal?

Many people today walk (spiritually) as though they were in a dream-world, unaware of where they are now, much less where they are going.  In Romans 13:11-12, Paul said

"And do this, understanding the present time.  The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.  So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."

I also used to tell my clients, "If you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there."

Think about it.

But don't wait too long...

G. Randall Vaughn

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"Lessons from Life" ™ is written by Randall Vaughn
 Published weekly by E-MIN Global Ministries
 P. O. Box 220, Warrior, AL 35180 (USA)
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