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By Ava Pennington—

I’m feeling my mortality this week. Yes, it’s that time of year. Facebook will soon be filled with birthday greetings. As I look forward to another year, I find myself looking back as well. What have I done with the years I have been given? What will I do with the years yet before me by God’s grace?

My thoughts have been influenced by the recent deaths of several celebrities:

Actress Donna Douglas died New Year’s Day at age 81 from pancreatic cancer. I will always remember her as Elly May Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies.

Actor Leonard Nimoy died in February at age 83. He was best-known for his role of Mr. Spock on Star Trek.

Singer Lesley Gore also died in February. She was 68. Her first hit song, at age 16, was “It’s My Party.”

French actor Louis Jourdan died on Valentine’s Day at age 93. I remember watching him play the lead opposite Leslie Caron in Gigi, a movie that won nine Academy Awards.

Each of these people spent a lifetime seeking accolades and validation of their talent. But fame is fleeting, and new, younger celebrities replaced them. As I’m reminded of the fickleness of our culture, I’m glad I don’t work for the world’s accolades. The apostle Paul wrote, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).

I may celebrate many more birthdays or this might be my last birthday. Either way, the greatest lifetime achievement award I could receive is to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

What accolades are you working to win?

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21 NIV)





© 2010 Martin Alan Grivjack PhotographyMartin Alan Grivjack PhotographyAva Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. Originally from New York City, she relocated after a 20-year corporate career as a Human Resources executive. But don’t call her retired. In addition to writing and speaking, she teaches a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of 200+ women from September through May each year.

Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts Ministries International. Ava has also written articles for magazines such as Power for LivingCalled, and Christianity Today’s Today’s Christian Woman. She has been published in 25 anthologies, including 18 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Ava is grateful for her husband, Russ, their marriage of 35+ years, and their home in south Florida. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit www.AvaWrites.com or contact her at Ava@AvaWrites.com.


  1. 4-10-2015

    Beautiful reminder of the brevity of our lives and the blessing of living for Christ. Thank you, Ava, for encouraging us to work for the accolades that are eternal.

  2. 4-10-2015

    Sobering thoughts Ava…thanks for the reflection.

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