We just celebrated a pretty significant milestone in my family, my grandmother’s 95th birthday. There are not a lot of people who are able to do that. It’s really quite an accomplishment. To me, though, there is something more impressive here than the number of years she has lived. More significant than her accomplishment is her perspective on life after living it for 95 years. Much more important than the guests, food, gifts, or cakes was what she had to say about the event. When someone of her longevity speaks its worth taking note of what they want to communicate. And here is what she had to say.
“This is the best day of my life.”
That was her expression of gratitude as she said goodbye and thanked everyone for coming. We say that kind of thing often, but she really meant it. And when you think about it this is a pretty big deal because she has lived a lot of days; 34,675 of them to be exact. Why would she pick this day above all the rest she has lived? Priorities. She said this was such an awesome day because her family was with her, and that is her priority. She isn’t interested in gifts, though she appreciated them. The food wasn’t her emphasis, though she enjoyed it. She wanted to be surrounded by the people she loves, and the fact that she got that wish made not only her day, but her life. I think we can learn something from that.
“Serve the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul.”
This was her answer when asked what wisdom she had to share. For her, 95 years worth of wisdom pointed toward there being no greater thing in life than living for and serving the God who created us, and gave Himself for us. Her heart’s cry has always been that her family would honor and love their God. You can bet that someone who has been around that long has tried other things. Its human nature to run after our own desires, try to handle things on our own, and to do what feels good at the moment. My grandmother would tell you, though, that those things will not give you real and lasting joy in the long run. It’s much better to just serve God. That is what she has done, she’s done it for a long time, and she can testify that there is no better way to live.
Her wisdom has challenged my thinking and my priorities and I pray that it has yours as well. Most of us won’t make it to 95, but we can learn from her wisdom. Love those who are close to you and make them a priority. Love and serve God above all else. These two things will guide us in being the people that God made us to be, and by the way they are also priorities for God. His own Son said that the most important things that we can do are: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
Sounds like my grandmother has it right to me.