Here’s A Thought for Oct. 13

Do not fear the autumn of your life?

What do you like about autumn? I have recently realized that autumn is one of the best seasons of the year…. the weather is still warm… even as the cold begins to creep in.

The leaves change color. This past Sunday as my wife and I were coming home from church, I noticed the beautiful autumn-colored tree on our university campus; they were the glorious colors of red, yellow and gold. But, as I am recently retired, I am not just talking about the trees… I am talking about our lives, as we hit our 60s.

Sadly, our society or culture does not value the special qualities of age…. except when it comes to a good wine. But, I have come to feel that this is one of the best times in my life. And if there is one thing I have learned in 68 years on this earth, it is to appreciate what you have each moment.

So, what can make this moment so special? When I was in grade school, I heard this statement, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” For some reason, I have treasured these words from C.T. Studd. Maybe because they are filled with wisdom.

Believe it or not, when a person has been around for 60-plus years, most of us have gained some wisdom. If not from what we have done right, clearly from what we have done wrong! We do learn from our mistakes or the results of our sinfulness. We confess with that tax collector in the Temple: “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13)

For three decades, my career in theology and ministry kept presenting me with challenges prompting me to enter clinical medical chaplaincy to minister or serve individuals who are physically, emotionally and spiritually suffering in pain. Yet, that led to today where I am engaged as a volunteer chaplain totally focused on my passion for ministry to those who are facing end of life issues with the aging process with all it’s physical, emotional and spiritual concerns.

I believe that we have the right to decide how to spend our time. For me, that included 30 years in parish ministry as well as clinical chaplaincy serving with these words in mind; “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” Remember these word of Jesus when He said: “I was sick and you visited Me…” (Matthew 25:36)

That concept of purpose is perfect for people in our 60s. We no longer believe that if we stay up all night working or maybe even if we work a few hours longer we can save the world. Rather, our sense of purpose is to continue the “good fight of faith” along with many others over time to proclaim the good news, the Gospel of our Savior God. “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48).”

This is a time to take the energy we still have and put our “love for family where our mouth is.” Purpose also includes the time and love we devote to our families. Since three of my four kids are married, I’m been blessed with eight grandchildren so far. Family connections also fill our lives with meaning.

In the autumn of your lives, in your 60s, you realize that the road is not endless. You may have watched others slow down and have seen close friends lives enter God’s eternity. You have choices. Do you accept the societal images of getting old? Or do you choose to live out God’s purpose for your entire life? So, I say when you hit your autumn: Remember: “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Therefore, let’s enjoy the beautiful of the autumn of our lives.