50 years from now, what will matter most?

We live in a changing world, but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order.

Truett Cathey, founder of Chick-fil-A.

It’s all about perspective.

When times are good, when the money’s flowing, when you’re on the mountain top and friends abound, the really important things are often stored away in a closet or neatly tucked away in a box out of sight.

When life interjects unexpected challenges, tragedies or adversity, though, the perspective quickly shifts.

It’s easy to remember priorities and the important things when life isn’t going well. When you lose a friend or loved one, the important things come around. When you run out of money, they usually show up on your doorstep. When you get that unexpected 2 a.m. phone call, they stare you right in the face.

Yes, life happens, and ever so suddenly, priorities change. Then, perspective changes about what’s important and what’s not.

The key to a successful, happy and consistent life, however, is to remember the important things in good times and in bad times. You see, those important things stem from your values and convictions, not on the things of this earth or temporary things.

Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 2:15.

What matters most is not the money you make, not the car you drive or house you live in and not the ministry or business you struggle to build.

In fact, fifty years from now, what will matter is what you left in others, not what you left to others.

But in a society that has gone off the deep end and is content circling the same mountain time and time again, many have lost sight of what’s important. So let’s reset the table.

What are some of the things that matter most in life?

  1. Your purpose in life. Your why. If you don’t know this, this should be on the top of your to-do list. It’s that important.
  2. Your legacy. Sure, you can leave a tangible legacy (e.g. money, property). But the real legacy you’ll leave centers on character, integrity, faith and example. A legacy is your way of putting a stamp on the future.
  3. Relationships. Family, friends. Ah, this is a biggie. You can’t/won’t make it in this crazy day if you don’t have deep relational roots.
  4. Health. Don’t allow your health to dictate the above. Health matters.
  5. Contentment, peace, fulfillment. This will affect every one of the first four. Don’t run from anything, but go where the peace is. If you aren’t fulfilled in life and can’t find contentment, little else matters.

You’ll notice that money, fine car or house and good job are not on the list. Doesn’t mean you should ignore them, but those are not the important things. They are usually by-products of the important things.

Certainly, a dependable vehicle, a roof over your head and a way to provide for your family are by-products of the list and absolutely necessary. But, in and of themselves, they are not the barometers of happiness and success.

Almost universally, when people look back on their lives while on their deathbed […] they wish they had spent more time with the people and activities they truly loved and less time worrying about aspects of life that, upon deeper examination, really don’t matter at all that much.

~Richard Carlson in Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.

Think about it. It’s thought for food. If you are chasing rainbows, money and the corporate success ladder, step back and take a look. Perhaps it’s time to chase a different “success”. Perhaps it’s time to focus on the things that really matter.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

~Mark Twain.

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