Rod Denton Induction at Elizabeth Church of Christ_2012 - Copy
A palliative care nurse by the name of Bronnie Ware was highly qualified to write the book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Interestingly, the number one regret she wrote was, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

And in these words, I was reminded of how being a “people pleaser” is one of the reasons why we can live our lives letting good things get in the way of the best things.

How important it is for each of us to be able to live our lives purposefully and be able to say as Jesus did at the end of His life, “Father, I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” John 17:14
There seemed to be no observable pattern about Jesus’ life. He was even accused of breaking Sabbath rules on one occasion, to which He responded by saying, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.”
John 5:10
It seemed that people were a high priority for Him, but one writer counted that on 41 occasions Jesus deliberately walked away from the crowds. The need was not always the call. In the midst of His busyness, He often withdrew to lonely places to pray or spend time with His disciples.

I am thankful that studying the life of Jesus taught me to never let the good things get in the way of the best things. Similarly, I found out that just because I may be busy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I am achieving anything of value.

In the process, the following guidelines have helped me on my life’s journey to guard against the good things getting in the way of the best things.

  • I was created by God for a unique purpose.
  • I have been shaped by God for a unique purpose. He has given me special abilities, a personality and heart’s desires that together will help me live as a round peg in a round hole.
  • I am aware that throughout my life I will have an audience of One watching over me. He will never leave me nor forsake me.
  • I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit who leads me and guides me according to God’s unfolding plans.
  • My security is in my relationship with God. It keeps me from being a people pleaser.
  • My identity is not found in what I do, rather it is in who I am, a child of God.
  • Life is not a dress rehearsal. It must be lived now.

The writer Erwin McManus in his book, The Last Arrow, explains how at the beginning of our lives we are given a quiver full of arrows to shoot and that we are to save nothing for the next life. He writes, “I am convinced that every human being has a unique calling on his or her life – that each of us was created with intention and purpose. And I am equally certain that most of us underestimate how much God actually wants to do in our lives and through our lives. The Last Arrow is about leaving nothing undone that was ours to do. This journey is about ensuring that when we come to the end of our lives, we will arrive at our final moments with no regrets.”

Erwin McManus in effect says that it is imperative that we live our lives by not letting the good things get in the way of the best things. If we do this, we will come to the end of our lives with a “full heart and an empty quiver.”