This morning I squeezed into the corner of a pew near the back of Binkley Chapel at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Surrounded by a sea of several hundred students, most of whom were in their 20’s, I listened while the seminary president exhorted us to give our lives to Jesus Christ, to willingly go wherever He calls, and to surrender and sacrifice comfort and familiarity for the sake of the Great Commission.
Understandably, as he directed his comments to his young audience. He cited numerous stories of men and women, who at the age of 25 or 26, left everything familiar to serve Jesus in foreign lands. He shared the incredible story of a young couple who were murdered on the mission field, and quoted their poems and journal entries that expressed a deep devotion to God and the furtherance of the gospel.
His message was similar to several I’ve heard this summer, and through each one the Lord has renewed and invigorated His call on my life. He has broadened my perspective and threw fuel on a flame that has burned in my heart since I was in my early 20’s.
So, as I left the chapel this morning I couldn’t help but think of men and women scattered across the U.S. who, like me, have reached that dreaded place called “middle-age.” Most of us have lived pretty good lives, many have raised families, and a good number stand on the cusp of retirement and lean toward slowing down.
Bob and I are down-sizing into a smaller condominium and look forward to getting rid of the stuff we so happily accumulated through our youth.
I’ve wondered all day long, what if those of us in middle-age opened our hands and said, “Here I am Lord, send me”? Imagine if 50 somethings flooded the mission field. We have life experience, we’re more mature, we’ve acquired wisdom through life’s trials, and we’ve learned to expect the unexpected. I know of a couple from our church who are serving in Indonesia. I’m so impressed by their willingness to go to the other side of the world on this side of life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we all have to leave the U.S. to serve, but what if our generation got really serious about the gospel and the great commission like we did when we were young?
It goes back to what I usually blog about – the dirty window. The reasons to shrug off the tap of God’s finger are endless. Aging parents, new grandchildren, mortgages, aching bones and slowing metabolisms. I get all of that. But I just wonder if we look beyond the now and think seriously about the not yet, could we make a difference?