Yep.  It was.  I celebrated my birthday yesterday.  I won’t tell you how many times I’ve done this but if you do the math properly you can figure out that I am 56% of the way along the journey of reaching the century mark.

Children happy birthday party . Stock Photo - 13309187

Though I’ve had a ton of birthdays it’s funny how many of them have been celebrated in the context of doing kingdom work.  I hit 30 and stood up to speak in the chapel of a Christian University; I hit 40 and received a birthday cake in the midst of a children’s orphanage in Bangladesh; I hit 50 and enjoyed a happy birthday rendition as I started into a workshop on “church planting”; yesterday I stood to preach in a local church and the pastor introduced me by inviting people to sing “happy birthday”.  It was awesome!

And even more awesome that two of my grown daughters were able to be in the same city as us and enjoy hearing their dad preach, and then go for lunch afterwards.  And one of the daughters reached for the cheque!  Wow, how awesome is that?

But looking beyond yesterday’s birthday, and beyond past birthday’s, and even (should God allow) future birthday’s, what does life really mean in the long run?

I can’t answer that for everyone but I do muse more about it and simplify my answers the more I muse about it.  I think at the end of my day, I want people to comment on my character and my person more than any big endeavour that I should be remembered from.  Like Barnabas of the Scriptures, I hope they’ll say “he was a good man”.  I used to aspire to “greatness” but I think if I get to “goodness” I’ll be satisfied.  I hope that God’s work is done through me;  I hope that my wife and children speak lovingly and longingly of me;  I hope that people point to significant engagements that they have had with me over the years where faith, and love, and mercy, and graciousness have abounded.

My wife and I have been talking about “funerals” lately.  You get to a stage where you are attending more than you used to.  A few years a back we were attending a lot of weddings but that seems to have dried up.  Now we get to funerals.  Anyway, the conversation came up about “my funeral”.  I said to my wife, I don’t mind funerals.  I respect the ceremonial piece but I really enjoy the “sandwiches” after the funeral.  It seems so much more alive and genuine.

So, at my funeral, I suggested we start with “45 minutes of sandwiches” and then move to a 30 minute chapel time.  I don’t know if that will happen this way, but hey, we did have the conversation.  Once I’m gone, I guess I’ll be left out of a lot of the decisions!