Four Decades of Service
I was once asked what it takes to serve the Lord over the course of four decades. I was reminded of what the Apostle Paul said near the end of his life and ministry, which applies to everyone, not just full-time servants.
He wrote to Timothy that “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7.
Paul finished well because he was willing to fight for what was right in the sight of God. He was committed to persevering through whatever confronted him. And, he always believed in what God could do.
In looking at Paul’s life, we also learn that in order to finish well, we have to make adjustments in life. Paul made adjustments throughout his ministry.
- In the beginning of this ministry, Paul had to settle things with Peter and the other Apostles and define his ministry.
- Near the beginning of his ministry, he planted churches.
- In the middle of his ministry, he defended the faith and problem-solved for the churches.
- Throughout his ministry, he overcame challenges to his apostleship.
- At the end of his ministry, he was imprisoned and adjusted by writing letters, which became a part of the New Testament.
Throughout the decades of our lives, we will need to make adjustments based upon our life stage and ministry assignment from the Lord (remember that everyone is a minister).
Keep in mind three things:
1. Keep it biblical. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” In the words of the Psalmist, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
2. Keep your priorities straight – faith first, family second and everything else thereafter.
3. Keep open to the changes and transitions of life. For sure, things will change each decade of your life. In Luke 5:37-39, Jesus said, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”
It is my desire for our church family to always do well. We are in the midst of making the adjustments needed to continue to thrive as a church family. The Lord will lead the way.
Something to think about…