On the Downhill Run

I remember having a light-hearted discussion with a lady during my first ministry as a youth pastor in Tequesta, Florida. She was chiding me about something and I was pleading my youth and inexperience as an excuse. I remember her words. “Pretty soon, that excuse will no longer fly.”

I am in a plane right now on my way to meet my wife in Raleigh. The logistics are complicated but she was in Cincinnati helping our youngest daughter and her husband move into their new home. My little baby now owns a house. Wow.

From Raleigh, we are heading to Florida to visit my parents. Dad just turned 90. Mom got a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer. Neither are healthy. I am going to paint their house and do yardwork and pretend to be a handyman.

On Tuesday, Jenni and I will celebrate 41 years of marriage and I will finish my 14th year as pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church. That’s 28 years in Iowa split between the Eastside and the west. That’s 2/3 of my life in wedded bliss.

In less than a month I have a birthday that tells me that pleading youth and inexperience is not an option any longer, as my friend predicted so many years ago.

Ever ridden a roller coaster? You slowly chug up the climb toward the top. Chugga, chugga, chugga. Then, you reach the top and roll over the hill and the ride begins. Suddenly you are hurtling toward the bottom and turning left and right, holding on for dear life. It feels a little that way in life and ministry. Your early years are slow. Learning the ropes of ministry- chugga. Raising your kids – chugga. Trying to keep your head above water – chugga. Then, suddenly, you hit your early to mid-30s and the ride really begins. Before you know it you are an old codger like me.

It is exciting, fun, scary, all of that. But my friends, it goes by faster than you can imagine.

Don’t waste it. Make the moments count.

(Didn’t get this posted Monday, so some of the future tense has become past tense.)

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