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Daily Devotion: The Most Important Question

What is your dream for your one precious life?  Your answer will shape the course of history.

By Scott Walker, Macon, Georgia

As appeared in

“Lord, make me to know… the measure of my days.…” Psalm 39:4

I am increasingly aware of how fast the years are passing. Just last week, while sitting with my family around the dinner table, we celebrated my mother's ninetieth birthday and I turned sixty-one.

We smiled at each other, eyes moist, grateful for the years shared together. And yet, I was keenly aware we will not live forever.

In my current freshman class at Mercer University titled “Composing the Self,” my students spend a semester reviewing the first eighteen years of their lives. Yesterday, we read a poem by Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day,” which depicts a young woman resting in a lush green pasture as she encounters a small grasshopper attached to her sweater. Holding the small insect tenderly in her hand, she gazes into its “enormous and complicated eyes” and realizes that the insect will live only a few more weeks until summer turns to fall. As the grasshopper snaps her wings and floats away, the girl whispers, “Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

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This is the most important question for us all: my ninety-year-old mother, her sixty-one-year-old son, my twenty-three-year-old daughter, my college freshman students.

Sometimes a singer has only one song, a preacher one sermon, a writer one book and a prophet one vision. Life is drawn into narrow and intense focus. Now I know that my one question for each person I meet is “What is your dream for your one precious life?” Each answer will shape the course of history.

Father, inspire me to know how to live the years that are before me. Amen.