"So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." – 2 Corinthians 4:16
In last week's Heartbeat I addressed the issue of "these bodies," speaking of our human bodies. This week I would like to go a bit deeper.
Since the time of my first COVID vaccination shot I have been fatigued. The timing of that first shot was such that I almost immediately was on a plane to Arizona. The Arizona trip was followed by a Nevada trip, and that by a Pittsburgh trip and then a New York City trip. Between these various trips happened to be plenty of projects both around the church building as well as around the house, plus counseling, writing, visiting, special meetings, board meetings, interviewing fellows interested in pastoring at Burning Hearts, etc. The bottom line is that I just couldn't seem to get caught up in terms of rest. The end result of this fatigue has been exhaustion coupled with some mental lapses (like forgetting to put grape juice in the cups on a communion Sunday!!!) This, in turn, has resulted in some good conversations with Ruth about life. Here is the upshot of those conversations:
1. The clock is continuing to tick. I'm getting older and I need to come to grips with that fact. When I was 25 or 30 maybe I could have handled this breakneck schedule, but that was then and this is now. I'm getting older. I may not want to admit it but I'm getting older. My grandchildren would probably drop the "er" from that word "older." To them I'm simply getting old.
2. My strength is fading. Six years ago I ran our annual Men's Discipleship Group 5k run at just over 29 minutes. Six years later, I ran it last week at 35 minutes – 6 minutes slower. I'm hoping to do better next week when we run it again but even if I do it in 34 minutes, I'm still a LONG WAYS from 29 minutes.
Years ago, my stepmother's dad was sitting on a bench next to the track at a high school. His grandson was running hurdles. After watching awhile he leaned over to my stepmother and said, "In my mind, I can still do that." That's where I am now. I have been slow to admit it, but it is where I am. I may, at times, think of myself as young and vibrant, but I am physically becoming a mere shadow of my former self. And what I say about myself is likely true for you who are "older" as well.
3. This is why it is time to look for a younger pastor. Sure, I have LOTS of experience, LOTS of knowledge, and hopefully LOTS of wisdom. The school of hard knocks has been profitable. But like the priests of ancient Israel – who labored from age 30 to 50 – there comes a time when it is right to pass the baton on to a younger runner, a younger preacher, a younger man. Those priests that were over 50 were still used in service to the people, but their role changed. And that is about to happen here at Burning Hearts. And it will be good for the church…and for me…and for Ruth.
So my hand is still to the plow, and by God's grace it will be until I die. But getting older is…well, it is hard. Know what I mean?