Throughout the twenty-five years or so that I had known my wife’s grandfather, Cecil Dye, I never knew him to be particularly obsessed or worried about the future, by that I mean retirement, old age and all that. It is not that he did not plan ahead, take the proper precautions, watch his pennies, etc., but he did not dwell on such things either. He simply kept his affairs in order and otherwise went about his daily life and work. That is not to say he was a man without goals and dreams. In fact, he was as ambitious as anyone having become a master at his trade and successful in operating his business.
Cecil, though, did not allow his goals and ambitions to blind him from the importance of the tasks put before him each day. He did not view such things as obstacles or distractions from some goal or end result he was trying to attain; rather he just considered them to be part of daily living. Cecil more or less lived by the old adage that “life is a journey not a destination”, which may have contributed to his long active life of almost ninety-five years.
Oswald Chambers once wrote, “We must never put our dreams of success as God’s purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. . . [No] what we call the process, God calls the end. . . His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future.”
I dare not minimize the importance of goals and ambitions, however, for they do inspire purpose and vision in our lives. Yet how often have I in my own obsession for attaining success overlooked some task put before me dismissing it as an obstacle or distraction rather than embracing it as part of the process? And how might embracing that task have had an even greater impact than whatever goal I was pursuing?
Thank goodness for wise elders like Cecil Dye who, though he enjoyed success as much as anyone, loved the process even more, embracing the tasks put before him as part of daily living. That is why for those of us whose lives were touched by his remember him not so much for what he did as how he lived his life. And that has had the greater impact.