I suppose I’ve always had dreams about becoming a certain kind of man. They used to be dreams about accomplishment: about being known as that guy, the guy who does big things and has a big reputation. I look around me now and realize those are bad dreams. They’re not dreams rooted in one’s identity with Christ. And who would want the responsibility that comes with trying to do big things, or the self-focus on what I want to do?
Increasingly as I get older I have a different set of dreams. Here are some of them.
I want to love Christ. I want to live in his presence, to abide in him, and to grow closer to him as the years go by. I know what it’s like to have tastes of this. I know what it’s like to try to cultivate this on the fly. But I’ve also seen men and women — mostly older — who have such a quiet, intimate relationship with Jesus that it oozes out of them. You can tell they’re friends, and that they walk closely with him. That’s what I want.
I want to grow in humility and love for others. For so much of my life I was worried about myself. I want what Paul talks about: not to think of myself more highly than I ought, but to think of myself with sober judgment (Romans 12:3). And then I simply want to serve and love, to believe that no job is beneath me, that every person matters, and that it’s my privilege to show honor to others with a heart that’s growing more capacity to love. I want people to know how blessed I am to be able to serve them. I want to learn to become the greatest servant.
I want to love my family well, and run life with a few good friends. Simply put, I want to grow in greater service to and love for my wife the older I get. I want them to see my growth, to know where I struggle, but to still see the Spirit growing me. I want to love my kids. And I want a few close friends. I want us to go to each other’s funerals and help us run hard until the race is over.
I want to invest in the next generations. Psalm 71:18 says it: “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.” I like how Ray Ortlund puts it too: “If you’re 40 or above, it’s time now to turn around and invest in the rising generation. It’s one of God’s primary reasons for keeping you alive.”
I want to serve. I never want to stop serving. I never want to forget the kind of service Zack Eswine talks about: small acts of overlooked love over a long period of time. I want to keep growing in the context of a local church, content to play my role and to leave the rest to God.
My vision is not so much about doing, but instead about becoming a certain kind of person, and laying down my life to serve and love God and others. By God’s grace, that’s the kind of man I want to become.