But contrary to current practice, not all presidents have had to worry about how they started their presidency. In fact, the idea of the first 100 days became popular when FDR used the term to refer to the achievements of the 73rd Congress between March 9 and June 17––not his own administration’s accomplishments. However, because these programs and actions took place during his first days in office, the term has become associated with the president, and all subsequent presidents have been held to this standard.
Michael D. Watkins in his article “Why the First 100 Days Matter” printed in the Harvard Business Review describes why new presidents should not be judged on how quickly they come out of the gates. He quotes David Greenberg who says, “New presidents tend to be clueless about governing. Even running a large state can’t prepare them for the responsibilities, attention or demands to act quickly — just as they need to find their footing. (FDR’s term hardly defined his legacy; many of his greatest achievements came later.) Sizing up presidents based on their hundred days is like judging a rookie from his first cuts in spring training.”
However, one thing is true. At the end of his presidency, President Trump, like all presidents before him, will forever be remembered for what he did and didn’t accomplish.
Though we as Christians may not experience the same scale of public scrutiny as the president, we are under public scrutiny. People are watching to see if our walk matches our talk. And we too will be remembered, judged, and credited (both by man and God) for what we did during our lives.
I went to a World Help conference in January and on the table was a paper metric measuring “stick” marked in centimeters. The founder, Vernon Brewer, had all of us calculate the age we thought we would live to be based on family history and our current health. Using the “stick,” we were told to tear the paper at that number. Then we were to tear it again at the age we currently were. What fell to the floor was our life to date. What was left were the possible number of years we had left to make a difference for God. It was a sobering but inspiring visual. What lie on the floor we could do nothing about. The time left in our hand was still usable. I have pinned this remnant to my bulletin board as a daily reminder that life and time are short.
Our takeaway should be this: Live life purposefully. As always, the Bible has stated it so simply. Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” If we do, then we will hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21).
Watkins, Michael D. “Why the First 100 Days Matter.” Harvard Business Review. 23 Mar. 2009. https://hbr.org/2009/03/why-the-first-100-days-matters