We Only Have One

Editor’s Note: For our last quarterly issue of 2022, we hear from Compass’ executive director for legacy and partnerships, Dan Nicewander. As we prepare for 2023, new goals and resolutions, Dan reminds us of the things that are truly important in life—and in eternity …

– Melody Stampley, Managing Editor

I was traveling back home to Minnesota last month.

 As I slowly boarded the plane behind the queue of people, the two guys in front of us started talking about “going up north”— a common saying of Minnesotans who want to get away from the busyness of the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area. 

One of them started complaining about all the work he had to do. He lamented that throughout the summer, they rush up north to  do yard work and maintenance. And by the time they head home on Sunday, “they’re ready for a vacation!” 

And now, they had to spend extra time to winter-prep. He blurted, “I can’t wait until I don’t have to go up there all the time,” to which his friend readily agreed…

I’m sure when they purchased their place up north they could only dream about all the fun they’d have up there. Swimming, boating, and just sitting by the campfire and listening to the loons.

But then reality set in. 

The yard needs work. The driveway needs coating. The dock needs to be replaced. A new roof must be coming at some point. And then, the guilt sets in when this major investment isn’t being used every weekend.

Doesn’t seem overly relaxing, does it?

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with a place up north. If it’s in your budget and used wisely, it can be a real blessing. We know many families who even use their cabin for hosting others. 

But something happens when a family gets a second home. It’s not just the initial expense or the demanding upkeep. There’s also the tug to use it regularly, which may make it difficult to regularly attend church back home.

I think this is what Mark is getting at when he says “…but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19). 

Things can work against us and pull us away from God if they’re not kept in check.

God wants us to enjoy everything He’s given us in this life. 1 Timothy 6:17 tells us that God “richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” But at some point, this life will all be over. 

I doubt that many people even know the names of their great great grandparents or about any of the things they cherished when they were alive. As James states, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14

So, if our time on earth is limited, what will we do with the time we have left? 

You could acquire more things. But we all know we can’t take them with us. 

You could create something that has your name on it so others remember you. But even that won’t last. 

Or you could focus and invest your time and resources on eternal things that can impact others for God and have eternal value.

Missionary C.T. Studd summed it up well over a hundred years ago when he wrote, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Let’s  focus our lives on the things that last.


Dan Nicewander

Executive Director – Legacy and Partnerships


Dan is the executive director for legacy and partnerships at Compass – finances God’s way. When he and his wife, Lynn, went through a Compass financial discipleship study more than 25 years ago, the concept of true financial freedom resonated with them. And after diligently following the biblical principles of steady plodding, the Lord enabled them to retire in their 50s and transition into full-time ministry. Dan and Lynn live in the Minneapolis, Minn., area and enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.