Hi. I’m Ken Jones and this is A Classic State of Mind, with a word about … Endings.

As a writer, I know that the most important sentence any author can write in a book is the first sentence. Keeping a reader’s interest as you begin is such an important thing. But equally important — perhaps even MORE important is the last sentence in a book or article. That last sentence is the culmination of what I call the ‘so what’ of a piece.

With that in mind, I’d like to address some of the ‘so what’s’ I’ve noticed this year, as 2019 winds to a close.

I noticed this year that serving God is still really fun. Oh, it’s time consuming, of course. But, when you’re serving the God who holds eternity in his hand, time has a way of looking ‘different,’ I think. No matter what I find myself doing in service to God, I’m really enjoying myself.

I got to try some things I’ve never done before, this year. I started writing and producing these ‘Classic State of Mind’ segments. I’ve always wanted to do some kind of radio spot. I’m glad for the opportunity to continue to venture out and try things I’ve never done before.

I find myself noticing people, more, I think. In my younger days, I’m afraid there were seasons in my life when I didn’t listen to people and their stories as carefully as I might have. In this last year, I’ve been careful to try to watch people, listen to people, care for people.

I got to travel to a lot of really interesting places this year, and do some things that were on my list of ‘want-to’s. I got to go to Thailand with my wife, and spend two weeks teaching and coaching missionary doctors and healthcare professionals. Spending time, one-on-one with these incredible doctors, listening to their stories, coaching them, praying with them. Wow. What an honor. Only God knows the great sacrifice many of them endure in order to follow God’s plan for their lives.

I lost some good friends this year. Some of my oldest and dearest friends came to experience what it means to stand in the presence of an awesome, holy, loving, God. And that reality reminded me, again, that I too am mortal, and that this life is a fleeting vapor. I miss those wonderful friends, here. But I take great solace in the reality that I will see them … there.

In looking back over the past year, I had some ‘close calls.’ Times when things turned out well, but could have ended in a totally different way; an accident that could have ended my life. I am grateful that God spared me. I enjoy life. But this year, like most years, I guess, I had some close calls.

I got to go to an Opening Day game in St. Louis, and watch the St. Louis Cardinals start the 2019 season. I’ve been a baseball fan all my life, but this was the very first “Opening Day” I got to celebrate. But what made it extra special was that I got to see it with my brother, Dan, who still lives in the St. Louis area. Being with him, and watching that game reminded me of the importance of family, and history, and heritage. God has blessed me with a Christian family, and I am very grateful for my Christian roots.

I’m still married. I’ve been married for 51 years; that seems like such a long time, and yet, as I look back over the past twelve months, I can hardly believe the time has passed so fast. The Book says theman who finds a good wife has found a good thing. A good thing, indeed.

I finished writing a book this year that I worked on for a very long time. “If I Should Die Before I Live” has gotten great reviews, and I’m hopeful God will use it to help many people focus on what matters most.

And finally, I look back to discover I’m not finished yet. I know I’m not finished because I can still look back to see where I’ve been this past year. I know. I know there will come a time — there will be a year when I won’t get to write a ‘so what’ sentence to what I’m doing. There will come a time when I’ll be interrupted, mid-sentence with His loving call Home. In the meantime, I trust my life will be filled with moments and meaning and purpose that has been orchestrated by the great God of all there is.

Next week on Classic State of Mind, we’ll talk not about ‘endings,’ but rather about ‘beginnings.’ Isa. 42:9 says, “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare …” Happy New Year.

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