This coming weekend I turn 50 years old. Part of me doesn’t even understand what that means. The other part of me is ready and willing to accept it’s part of life. I’m not sure what one is supposed to feel or do at this age but I’m sensing two key emotions at this time.
A Sense of Gratitude – Naturally, I find myself looking back at my life and feeling very thankful for all that I have received. I was born into a privileged family with parents and sisters who were loving and supportive. Our home lacked nothing, it was safe and secure. I had the opportunity to receive a good education and I have a love of learning that continues.
I married well, really well. My amazing wife loves me despite all that she knows about me and has to put up with. She’s my treasure in life. It’s hard for me to describe how I feel about my four children. They are healthy, beautiful, bright, active, loving individuals who have ensured that the last 21 years have never been dull. It’s my greatest honour and most sacred duty to be their father.
I’ve lived in five different countries on four continents and have travelled to some of God’s most beautiful places. It has been my privilege to be the pastor of three churches – all in different countries. I am blessed with close friends of many years. I’ve had excellent mentors and role models. All in all, it feels like an embarrassment of riches and at 50 I can’t help but feel grateful for it all. Like the Psalmist I can say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!” (Psalm 103:1)
A Sense of Anticipation – Once upon a time I thought people who were 50 were very old. Now I know better. Rhonda and I don’t really talk about retirement. It’s not something that is very close in our future. Lately, we’ve been talking about how to spend the next 25 years of life together. We don’t believe that we have peaked yet and we don’t plan to slow down too soon. There’s just so much more we want to do. We are excited about what lies ahead.
In this next stage of life I want to focus more on giving back and helping others. I’m looking forward to writing more and perhaps doing some teaching here and there. I want to use what I have learned to assist others. Passing on our faith to a younger generation will be important. The world is changing rapidly and people need to understand how the timeless truth of the gospel makes a difference in society. I want to help others learn to walk out their faith in their generation. It will not look like my generation and that’s okay. What is important is that they follow Jesus – being guided by the Word and his Holy Spirit.
There are definitely concerns for our world on the horizon. Yet I am not one to fear for the church, the cause of Christ or my own future. I believe more than ever that He is at work in the world and His purposes cannot be stopped. I want to be a part of what He is doing. So bring on the next 50 years! Like the prophet says, “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord.” (Micah 7:7)