I am convinced this happens at each and every class reunion where if you are among the fortunate receive a complimentary remark along the lines of… it appears you’re holding your age well. It reminds me of the story of the sweet couple who were celebrating their 60th birthdays while at the same time celebrating 40 years of marriage. They picked the finest restaurant and while enjoying a wonderful meal together suddenly an angel appeared to them and said, “you have both been such a model of joy and faithfulness and because of that I will grant each of you a wish, anything you like. Just say it and it will be so. First to the lovely lady, what would you enjoy more than anything else.” Oh, she blushed and said; to tell you the truth I would enjoy a worldwide cruse with this man. It would be a marvelous joy to spend time circling the globe with him. So whoosh, the angel waves his sword and instantly, she had in her hands 2 tickets to an all expense worldwide cruise with their names on the tickets. Then he said to the man, “sir you have the opportunity now to ask for anything you would like and it will be granted to you.” He glanced over at his wife. 60 years old, saw some marks of age and he pulled the angel close and said rather quietly, in all honesty I would really like to have a wife that is 30 years younger than I… immediately whoosh, the angel waved his sword… and suddenly the man is 90 years old! While we are imagining things let’s imagine that we can go back in time… to the former and younger you. In looking back I wonder if there are a few things you would want to tell you. I mean the you of today telling the you of then some sage advice. What would you say? How would you say it? How important would it be that what you said was truly heard and put into practice. Let me suggest three things that I think each of us would say to that young, spry, full of spit and vinegar former selves.
First, don’t loose your joy! It is easy to do! Its so easy to find ourselves entirely too serious because of the path we have had to endure that we loose what God had once poured into our souls! How easy it is to get stuffy and how unlike the admonitions in the scriptures that would be! “Delight yourself in the Lord”, “When my anxious thoughts multiplied within me your consolations oh Lord delight my soul” and “The joy of the Lord is my strength” among others. Don’t loose your joy! Secondly, don’t loose your enthusiasm. The journey gets long at times… As I think about it I don’t remember ever seeing any marathon runners smiling. Long week, months, years can drain the enthusiasm! It’s what I have heard called the rut of sameness. Thomas Edison’s son Charles writes of his father… In 1914 Edison’s factory in West Orange, New Jersey, was virtually destroyed by fire. Although the damage exceeded $2 million, the buildings were insured for only $238,000 because they were made of concrete and were thought to be fireproof. Much of Edison’s life work went up in smoke and flames that December night. At the height of the fire, Edison’s 24-year-old son, Charles, searched frantically for his father. He finally found him, calmly watching the fire, his face glowing in the reflection, his white hair blowing in the wind. “My heart ached for him,” said Charles. “He was 67 no longer a young man and everything was going up in flames. When he saw me, he shouted, “Charles, where’s your mother?” When I told him I didn’t know, he said, ‘Find her. Bring her here. She will never see anything like this as long as she lives.” So regardless of what happens, don’t loose your enthusiasm.
Lastly, don’t loose your heart! Another word for heart is compassion. It’s the danger of a business as usual mentality. To a doctor, patients become case #’s rather than flesh and blood
human beings. To a pastor who loses heart the programs and activities can replace anointed and spirit led ministry. Don’t loose your heart for when you do, it could be dangerous.. for you, for others! I heard about a small statement that appeared in a newspaper in a large city on the East coast many years ago. It was a notice from a particular publishing company, it read, “to those of you who bought our book Skydiving made Easy, please enter the following correction on page 12, paragraph 3 line 2. The three words “State Zip Code” should be changed to say “Pull Rip Cord” and get this, the notice concludes… “We regret any inconvenience this may have caused!” the reality is that we cannot go back but we can make the most of what we have learned since we began. And we can make it count!