I have a bone to pick with young me. The teenage version of me had a lot of fun playing the trumpet in jazz band, but now middle-aged me has to wear hearing aids.

On the other hand, I do appreciate younger me’s choice in a wife and career. Thank you for that, 20-year-old Richard.

It makes me wonder—if the Lord gives me another 20 years, what will 74-year-old me think of 54-year-old me? How will my current decisions, practices, and lifestyle impact him? Maybe I need to show a little more compassion for the old geezer.

More importantly, what about eternal me? On the day the Lord hands out rewards, I’ll be standing there. What will I think of 54-year-old me in that moment?

Or the moment where I have to give an account for the things I did, thought, and felt (or didn’t do, think, or feel) in 2021? Will I be shaking my head (or fist) at middle-aged me on that day?

It’s amazing how different teenage me, 30-year-old me, and 54-year-old me are. It’s hard to imagine they are the same guy. I can only imagine what elderly me will be like.

So which version of me is the most important? Would it be better for teen me to be deprived of something good for the sake of elderly me? Or the other way around? Hard to say for sure (although I think I can guess what old man Richard will say).

One thing I can say for sure, the most important version of me is eternal me. That’s the one God had in mind when he designed me. And that’s the condition I’ll be in the longest—by far. All the other versions of me put together will be like the blink of an eye compared to my life in the eternal state.

I think this is what Jesus had in mind when he said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth … but store up for yourselves treasure in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20).

What could the 2021 version of you do now that the eternal version of you will be thanking you for … forever?