Friday, July 24, 2009

A Life Worth Living

Yesterday my husband sent me an e-mail notice that the father of one of the men he works with had passed away at the age of 92. It turns out this gentleman was a member of "The Board of Direct- ors," of the Daylight Donut shop in Owasso.
This is the same group of retirees my father-in-law gathers with every morning (and I do mean every morning) to cuss and discuss current events, relive past memories, give each other a hard time and, I suppose, on a deeper level, satisfy the deep and basic need every human being has for fellowship.
Jay's father told him that over half the people who attended this man's funeral were from the donut shop and mentioned that he was buried in his Daylight Donuts Shop ballcap. My father-in-law thought that was "nice." Jay found it sad. I thought was it darn near tragic.
Moments after I read that e-mail I opened up the morning paper and read of another death, that of Juanita Hardgrave at the age of 89, "who was honored as an Oklahoma Community Senior Citizen of the year in 2006 by Govenor Henry for her work with people in crisis."
Now let me make it perfectly clear that I never met either of these two people and don't know anything more about them than the facts just stated.
However, as I let my imagination speculate about these two very different individuals who lived almost the same number of years, I couldn't help but wonder how one had died with accolades and the other with a donut shop ball cap.
Regardless, it reinforced my detmination to beseech God to let my life count, and not for just anything, but to count for the Kingdom of God.
I was reminded of a semon by John Piper that Jacob had his father and me listen to where he rails against the tragedy and the mis- taken American notion of "retirement." As I recall, he actually says something about how God did not intend for us to spend our gold- en years playing golf and looking for shells on a beach.
Nothing wrong with those things in and of themselves, of couse, but they are not to become our next vocation after we've retired from our first.
We are called to serve God and our fellow man until the day we draw our last breath. I'm sure we have all heard it said that the word "retirement" is not found anywhere in the Bible, regardless of the translation.
That should give us pause. Or at least have us ask what's found in the Bible regarding what God tells us we should be doing in our golden years.
My Bible says, "Go and make disciples of all nations." (Mt. 28:19) There is not a single footnote, cross reference or qualifying verse that says, "Until you are between the ages of 62 and 65, or unless you opt for My early retirement package."
My Bible says, "Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, for they are white for harvest." (Jn. 4:35) And then laments "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." (Mt. 9:37)
Here's a random thought: What if all the able bodied Christians who have retired from the daily grind decided to make the Kingdom of God their focus rather than their leisure activities? What if they laid aside their golf clubs and knitting needles for a sickle?
And what if all those who weren't as able bodied, even the bedrid- den, understood what a powerful, eternal, Kingdom thing it would be to pray for those who were going and doing?
Can anyone but God calculate the impact on His Kingdom?
Just like all of you, no doubt, I long to hear my Lord and Savior say to me, "Well done good and faithful servant!"
Because I doubt very seriously anyone will hear Him say, "Hey! Nice shell collection!"

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