We put three candles on his cake tonight – one for each dozen years of life. It’s difficult to believe that Andrew, our youngest child and only son, is thirty six years old today. Granted, he’s not 40 yet, and so we still have a child in his thirties, but time seem to be marching by more quickly than it used to – especially as I am already getting mail for enrolling in Medicare and I don’t even turn 65 until next February!
Birthdays are always a time to reflect. Three years ago, I wrote about Andrew being the same age as Jesus was when He finished His earthly ministry. And now we are here again, three years later, and that represents another whole three year period of the earthly ministry of Jesus. Time is just flying by. And I have to stop a moment and wonder what lessons Andrew has learned since his last birthday. For the entire family, it has been a difficult year that has called on us to have faith that God would get us through.
I am positive that Andrew has had to deepen his own faith in response to the challenges of the family. In fact, it is evident to me that Andrew has grown significantly in several ways this year, most importantly in his faith life. Probably one of the best lessons that I hope Andrew is learning is that life is a journey and short of heaven, we don’t ever reach our goal – at least here on earth. There is always room for improvement – and that doesn’t mean that we should not be satisfied with our progress – just that we should continue to strive to be more Christlike in our lives.
And while Andrew has been around us three dozen years, he must continue his perseverance in his Christian walk, he must influence others with a commitment to what is good and right and excellent, be a model of behavior for others and emulate Christian values throughout his life.
And that brings us to the verse for tonight, not unexpectedly the same verse I chose three years ago for Andrew, because he, like all of us, is a work in progress. James, the brother of Jesus, tells us in his New Testament book, James 1:4, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Our fondest desire for Andrew is that he will continue to grow and will not lack anything as a man of faith and an example in the community for the people he influences and comes into contact with. There is nothing better than a fine reputation as a loyal, trustworthy, man. My encouragement for everyone this evening is that we all fall short of God’s desires for us – and that’s okay as God realizes that we will never achieve perfection. But my prayer is that we will all strive for continual improvement and use our birthdays as a way to gauge our progress each year. Have a wonderful birthday, Andrew – we love you – and to the rest of you, have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…