Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Just Turned 38

38 is not 40. So it is not as if I am questioning my very existence or reflecting on being old. But I am now in my upper 30’s and no longer in the mid-to-late 30’s. Hey, I’m not like those people who hate having birthdays because it reminds them they are aging. Complaining about getting old is like complaining about the grass being green and the sky being blue.

I am not complaining just reflecting.

Actually the reason I am reflecting at all is probably because of the great upheaval we are in right now. As my family and I fix a date for moving back to our hometown and dream and plan of planting a church…as we do so leaning on the promises of God and trusting in his radical grace for sinners like us –as our message and our very hope – I cannot help but reflect on how I got here and what has been accomplished since I set out on this ministry adventure.

This transition (what a lame way to describe all of this – its like calling cancer, “sickness”) has really been a cause of one thousand worries. One of those has been to worry about accomplishing something. Have I? Have I accomplished anything whatsoever? It’s a dangerous question and sometimes the wrong perspective can deal a crushing blow in a moment of weakness. Accomplishment can stand up tall in front of me beckoning me to bow in adulation.

If Calvin is right and our hearts are idol factories then my T.V. heads up my heart’s marketing department. When I see a quarterback or coach of an NFL Team and hear how he is years younger than me, I have to admit there can be some stinging and discomfort. It is like a finger pointing out how little I have accomplished. Then I realize that I, at the age of 38… I am not famous for anything. The horrific face of despair is then just outside my window in the dark night of the soul.

But this is so screwed up isn’t it? What kind of thought world do I inhabit when fame and adulation become reasons for assuming nothing has been accomplished? Paul had every reason for despair while being imprisoned. Prison has got to be a means for at least the temptation to despair. No one would fault Paul for being a little depressed while in a first century prison. But you look at Paul in Philippians and he is rejoicing in the faith of those Christians whom he saw come to believe in the gospel of grace and love and follow Jesus.

If Paul, who is in prison can rejoice in the faith and endurance of those he taught the gospel then certainly I can also do so in the prison of feeling insignificant. It is no small accomplishment to lead young people into deeper gospel waters of God’s grace. It is no small thing to even touch just one life with the most wonderful news in the world.

What if died today at the age of 38 right here in this chair in Andover, KS? Would my testifying about God’s grace be worth writing about? Probably not. But I love that what is insignificant in the eyes of man is worth eternity in the hearts of those who have believed.


Eldora said...

My grandfather had a unique way of finding out how old people were. He'd ask, "Are you thankful for the years the Lord has given you here on this earth?" Of course they would answer 'yes'. Then he'd ask, "Just how many is that?"

DanC922 said...

Remember what I/Kim said on your farewell night at DCF. Your love for the Gospel and faithful preaching of it has had an impact on the other side of the world. God is using your preaching of the Gospel to Kim to reach the lost in Australia. Though of course this is entirely by God's grace, which is your biggest comfort and constant hope. We are not called to be imitators of the greatest men in history, but instruments used in the salvation of souls - however few, many, known, or unknown they are at the end of our lives. Our legacy lies in the security of Christ for eternity, and not in the transient memoirs of this Earth.