As we ride in a vehicle along any highway, we frequently see milestone markers telling us how far it is to a particular destination. They can be small signs beside the road with a simple distance indicator on them. Or they may be large signs showing how far it is to multiple destinations. They help a weary traveler measure the progress of the trip.
Businesses and nonprofit organizations use milestone markers in their project management to mark off goals along the timeline of a project. Recently UCG utilized a type of milestone marker for fundraising for the new media center.
“Most importantly, for us there are annual milestones of the Holy Days, tithing on each paycheck, baptism and observing our very first Passover.”
In everyday life, we find additional milestone markers. These are any actions or events that demarcate a significant change or stage in our development. They may cover physical, social and emotional achievements as well. Parents are enthralled to behold the milestones met as their babies learn to smile, laugh out loud, roll over, crawl and eventually take their first step or say their first word. To achieve these milestones usually requires much interaction and opportunities to learn and grow.
There is also the milestone of a child starting school, be it kindergarten or first grade. The little boy or girl is carefully prepared for that first day of school with a suitable outfit and a lunch box. Mom tearfully bids farewell as the little one sets out on the school bus. I remember an account of a little boy who looked forward to his first day of school. He longed for the time when he could go to school. Months turned to weeks. Weeks turned to days, and at long last the much anticipated day arrived. He was so excited he had a hard time getting to sleep. Come morning, off to school he went with his mother’s encouragement and blessing. Upon his return from his first day of school, he reported to his mother what a wonderful time he had, how lovely his teacher was, how interesting his classes were and how much fun it was to be together with new classmates.
The next morning, his mother had prepared his breakfast and gone into his room to wake him up for his second day of school. She was surprised when he said to her that he didn't want to go to school anymore. “Why not?” his mother asked. He replied, “Because I went yesterday.” Needless to say, he was still required to get up and go to school on day two and eventually learned that it is not just starting the journey that is important. It is completing the journey that is essential in order to reach the next milestone.
Another important marker is finishing high school and possibly applying to attend a university, college or vocational school. Maybe the young adult is looking for a particular discipline and even has the prospect of a scholarship. The options can be multitudinous. Should one apply to a school on the East Coast, West Coast or perhaps in the Midwest? Should one apply to a big name school or a smaller, more intimate college or university? Should one live on-campus or off-campus? Should one work part-time during school? These are all important options not available in every setting. Many of you reading this have gone through the same exercise—an important milestone. Of course, it is very difficult for parents to let go of their children at times such as this and many of us have gone through this as well.
“Now is the time to consider what you want and why you want it. Set reasonable goals and then commit yourself to your next step with wise counsel.”
As we mature, there are many important milestones that we typically reach including getting a driver’s license, graduating from high school and/or university, getting our first job, getting married, renting or buying our first apartment or house. Most importantly, for us there are annual milestones of the Holy Days, tithing on each paycheck, baptism and observing our very first Passover.
This time of year quite a number are marking milestones in their education. Whether it is graduation from kindergarten, grade school, high school, college or university, it marks a very important milestone in a person’s life and an indication that there are changes and growth to follow.
Some change is inevitable. We all grow older. Some changes we can’t wait for while other changes we resist. Some of us are more adaptable to change while others of us hate change. But in the end, we all have to accept ongoing change. There are changes that we should resist. Trends should always be carefully measured against the Scriptures to see if they are what the great God would approve of.
Proverbs 24:21 warns us: “Do not associate with those given to change.” This refers to individuals who pursue change for the sake of change itself and have a lack of appreciation of what is true, tried and tested and have developed an affinity for what is novel or new.
In Malachi 3:6 we read: “For I am the Lord. I do not change.” God is the only one who has no need for change. He is perfect. He has no need for overcoming as we do. He has perfection, which no human has though some seem to think they do at times. We can rely upon God’s changelessness, as well we should.
Job 14:14 states, “All the days of my hard service, I will wait till my change comes.” This will be our ultimate transition when we become spirit beings, when corruptible has been put on incorruption and when the mortal has put on immortality and death is swallowed up in victory.
Meanwhile, what do we do with incremental change? We can either use the transition as something positive to help us grow or spend needless energy resisting the change that should be made. Aging is one of those changes. Do we age gracefully, or do we fight it with ferocity and denial?
Graduating students will be gearing up for the next phase in their lives. Decisions made now will impact their future either positively or negatively. It is a time to give careful consideration to decisions and actions. Now is the time to consider what you want and why you want it. Set reasonable goals and then commit yourself to your next step with wise counsel.
For a Christian, first comes the realization that there is a way of life we wish to pursue. Perhaps then comes pre-baptismal counseling and the need to repent. We have that exhilaration of baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit. This milestone marks a significant change in our life. It starts a life-long journey during which we have to constantly check strategically placed mile markers to make sure we are still on course to our ultimate destination—eternal life in the Kingdom of God.