Sometimes the zing which somehow makes the difference, or the extra incentive is gone when all seems lost, or at an end. This can be a dangerous time if one no longer cares or is motivated in the same way as before. I admire and appreciate the zeal and idealism of a younger generation, who have a kind of impassioned expectation and delve in depth into all kinds of issues which I care little or nothing about anymore, but which in their place are quite important. We need the energy and openness and ability of the younger minds to help us in all kinds of things. I applaud and am all for it.
But for me, those days are gone, I don’t think ever to return. I know that even with a few more decades possible, I have to think in terms of the end coming, and what that means for me in preparation, and for loved ones. And that presents a good opportunity, because it is then that we are more prone to major on what is truly of major importance, and to minor on the rest.
For me, what’s of central importance is the gospel, the good news of Jesus, and what that means first of all in terms of my own response in receiving and seeking to live accordingly. And also in terms of what it means for those around me, and for the world. And related to that is what is called the “Jesus Creed” (Scot McKnight) of loving God with all our being and doing, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Our prayer lives are essential in all of this, and the Lord’s Prayer is something that should be front and center, so that we pray it weekly in our church gatherings, and regularly, preferably daily, ourselves.
Now that I’m getting on in years, turning 60 soon, I simply have chosen to cut out what used to be more or less a big deal to me, some things, while continuing to enjoy some other things. Anything I consider a hinderance for whatever reason, if that continues to be so, I’m losing interest in it. Being in the word, in scripture, remaining in the fellowship of the church, and working on growing in relationships are becoming more and more the staple of life. I used to get into some sports more or less heavy, and am glad for older folks who remain in that as not only spectators, but witnesses and examples of the faith. And who knows, that interest may be resurrected in me at some point. But for now, I simply don’t care who wins or loses, and though I can watch a game with appreciation, and even root for one team over the other, I would rather leave it than take it, having other matters I consider more important for what I’m focused on, and perhaps because of what God is doing in my life at this point.
And so I consider this a good thing, an element of which I wish would have been present decades ago. I always had an intense idealism, but something of this along with that would have been most helpful and formative in my life. One shouldn’t have to wait until they get older to live as if tomorrow might not come. As if they may be standing before God soon.
Of course we are all in need of God’s grace always. We want to be faithful to how God is leading us in the present, and not look over our shoulder to how God might be leading others. Even though we most certainly are in this together, and that’s of utmost importance, it is also true that God helps us all along in that as individuals. We each have our place and part to play in the whole. And neither should want, nor think we even can be or do what someone else is about.
A good time, even if a bit sad that so many decades have come and gone. But the God who was faithful throughout all of that time, in spite of my own weakness, ignorance and folly, will be faithful in my life (in my continued incompleteness), and in the lives of others in and through Jesus to the very end.