I am certainly not a runner. I tried it a few years back and never made it much beyond the end of the block. But I am a runner in the race of the Christian life, and I want to finish strong. I want to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” when my race is over.
The other day a good friend sent me a John Piper post highlighting 88-year-old J.I. Packer’s latest book on aging. I haven’t yet read the book, but Packer is reported to say that the message of our culture to take our last years easy comes from the evil one, not God.
Packer says, ”My contention is . . . that, so far as our bodily health allows, we should aim to be found running the last lap of the race of our Christian life, as we would say, flat out.”
At whatever age this finds you and me, this advice applies. We should be all in, flat out working for the kingdom as long as we remain on earth. This is God’s purpose. Our calling may look a bit different at 88, 58, or 28, but it’s not over.
Sadly, many women and men my age (I may be old, but J.I. could be my father) have turned the labor of God’s kingdom over to others so they are free to travel, enjoy life, and relax while enjoying family. I have heard some of them express their belief that they have done their part and it’s someone else’s turn.
I get it. I enjoy those things, too, but God doesn’t have me and you here on earth just for ourselves and our familes; we have been sent to do God’s kingdom work. We are called to be all in, running flat out wherever he needs us.
Yes, I have taken time to care for my mother who passed away in August 2013 and to help my daughter when her children were born, but ministering to my family isn’t always selfless. I do go on trips and love life, but God’s plans are bigger than that. I am not here for a life of leisure or entertainment, although those things are part of it. There is a bigger cause that calls me to run.
I never want to use the excuse that my family is my ministry stop me from serving my church and other people in the area of my gifting. I didn’t do that when my kids were in pre-school, and I don’t intend to do it now that they are grown. I am driven by God’s direction, not by my “d’ruthers.”
Is it easy to keep going? Absolutely not! I would love to simply take it easy for a long, long while, and leave the teaching and ministry work to others, but I don’t.
Instead, I went to Kenya in August. I did a retreat this fall. I seek ways for BOW to help women leaders in under-resourced churches. I take time to grow in my relationship with God and know and love him more each year.
I have some wonderful friends with the same passion, and their encouragement is part of the fuel God gives me for the journey.
I want to finish strong for however many years God gives me. May God give me the grace to run flat out straight into the wind to the end!
Will you join me?
This article was orginally posted on The Aroma of Influence July 30, 2014. It has been slightly edited from the orignial post to update it.