Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Better with age

40 years old-that is what I am looking at today. How does this feel? I’m not too sure. My thoughts seem sort of random about the whole thing (maybe that is what happens at my age). They say 40 is the new 30 right? Maybe I’m like a fine bottle of wine- I’m better with age! More likely a like an aging block of stinky cheeze.

You know, when you are in your 20’s you think you know everything. As you move through your 30’s you start to realize that you did not know as much as you thought. Then you hit 40 and realize you didn’t know anything. I wonder if by the time you hit 50, you have really started to figure some things out. 60! Man-now that’s got to be the beginning of wisdom! 70-I don’t want to think about it right now.

One thing is for sure, life does a lot to a man through the years. A lot of it can steal your joy for life if you let it. It is the fight of a man’s life to see hope throughout his days-to continue to believe the best in people and hold on to God. It is a major challenge to focus on the good when so much can (and often does) go wrong.

I believe the Apostle Paul had this challenge as he attempted to navigate the uncharted waters of his life. He had many significant “heart punches” along his way. People turned on him, hurt him, and abandoned him. He had major set backs and disillusionment like the rest of us. He writes in Acts 20:

“And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, 23 "except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. 24 "But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Paul understood that the ultimate concern of his very challenging life was to simply do God’s will. He knew the secret to inner strength and joy was to make sure he fulfilled his mission to share the great news of what God had done for him in Jesus Christ. As he moved up in years his focus only seemed to sharpen on this purpose.

What I connect with is Paul’s determination to do life with joy. I do not have control of what is in front of me, but I do have control of what is inside of me. I choose to do life with joy! In the end, all a man has is the joy of knowing he has done (or has tried to do) God’s will for his life. I intend to “finish my race with joy” and spend the rest of my life telling others about who Jesus Christ is to me. I want to run harder (hopefully smarter) and even more determined to make a difference in the Kingdom of God.

Let me tell you how I am going to choose to feel about my 40th Birthday today-Thankful! My best days are still in front of me (now that I am getting a little smarter). I am married to a fantastic woman, my son is barely two years old and continuously floods my life with joy, I have a great group of friends to do life with, and I am privileged to pastor a great church filled with awesome people. Yes, life could be a whole lot worse for a guy like me. I have so much to be thankful for today. Thank You God! Thank You for letting me live this life!


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