…Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3: 13-14.
I didn’t often get to do house-calls in well kept mansions while practicing as a hospice physician, but as I looked around “Mr. Smith’s” home, it was obvious he had retired from a lucrative career. The thin, frail, ninety-four-year-old seemed pleasant enough as he answered my questions about his illness and how he had been doing.
The conversation turned to Mr. Smith’s career. He told me he had owned a major company that printed record labels. I’m old enough to remember the colorful labels that identified vinyl records, and was surprised that label printing was outsourced.
“So, if a company like Columbia Records were producing a new album,” I asked, “they’d send you the information and your workers would print all the labels they needed?”
Suddenly, Mr. Smith’s eyes narrowed and his lips twisted into an angry frown. His voice was like a growl.
“We couldn’t get the Columbia account.”
I quickly moved the conversation forward and started my physical exam. Mr. Smith resumed his pleasant demeanor. But while I examined him, I couldn’t help wondering why a missed opportunity, from what was surely at least fifty years prior, still angered this otherwise successful man who was now near the end of his life.
The Apostle Paul, like my patient, had a past full of both failures to be angry about and laurels to rest on. But Paul was transformed by Christ. The past was behind him, so he forgot about it – and focused on the future that God had for him.
It’s easy to hang on to anger or remorse over our past failures, or even the comfort of past victories. However, the prize of God’s upward call – fulfilling His purpose for us in this life and our glorious eternity with Him in the future – is far more valuable than anything we are holding on to.
What experiences from your past are preventing you from focusing on God’s upward call? It’s never too late to let them go and press towards the goal, even if you are reaching the end of your earthly life. Jesus is waiting with your reward.
Jannette Morrow is a medical communications writer from Wilmington, DE. Read Jannett’s devotions.