I’ll admit it. I don’t have the get-up-and-go I used to—but I still get up and go.
Because God is not through with me yet.
I can look back on my life and see many things I am glad I was a part of—things God did in me and through me. (Of course, I also have regrets, but I refuse to focus on a forgiven past.) I had energy, enthusiasm, and zeal to do all I can.
But these days are different. I don’t run on five hours of sleep; I relish eight hours of sleep. In my student ministry days, I’d lead two all-night events one weekend apart; I look back now—in these days when I go to bed at 9:30—and wonder: how in the world did I have the energy or sanity to do two all-nighters back-to-back?
But I keep going because God is not through with me.
I don’t understand people who, because they’re slowing down, just stop altogether. They stop serving. They may give money to the church, but they no longer give of themselves. I’ve done my time. It’s someone else’s turn.
One of my favorite composers was Gioachino Rossini. Even if you’re not a classical music lover, you know Rossini’s William Tell Overture.
(And those of us of a certain age, we immediately think of the Lone Ranger.)
As great as Rossini was, there’s one thing about him I just don’t get. The guy was prolific. Beginning at age 18, Rossini wrote 38 operas over a 19-year period—in addition to all his other compositions. He actually coughed up 20 of those operas in an eight-year period. He achieved worldwide fame at age 37 with his William Tell Overture.
Then he quit. He punched the clock. He retired at the ripe old age of 37. He was not burned out. He just stopped. For the next 39 years, he did nothing else but eat, drink, and be merry.
I can’t help but wonder what musical gems he could’ve given us had he not called it a day. I wouldn’t have blamed him for slowing down a bit, but he just quit.
I’m posting this story at the anniversary of his death, November 13, 1868, but he really died 39 years earlier when he decided just to coast. I’ve done my time. It’s someone else’s turn.
That attitude needs to disappear from the Christian life. The way you serve may change, but the fact that you serve doesn’t. God is not through with you.
Amy Carmichael was a missionary in India for 55 years. She had bouts of weakness, but she did amazing work. In 1931, a fall badly damaged her hip and back. She had already put in 35 years, and Amy could’ve gone home to England. She could’ve said what so many of us say—”I’ve done my time. It’s someone else’s turn”—but she stayed and served from her bed for another 20 years.
Our journey is not through until Christ calls us home. Until that moment, let’s continue serving in whatever way we can.
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).