Thursday, August 08, 2019

"I Have To"

Psalm 71.9, 18-19a “The Message”

“But don’t turn me out to pasture when I’m old or put me on the shelf when I can’t pull my weight.”

“Ill keep at it until I’m old and gray. God, don’t walk off and leave me until I get out the news of your strong right arm to this world, news of your power to the world yet to come, Your famous and righteous ways, O God.”

When I think about my own mortality, I become apprehensive. I have no problem going to heaven sooner than later. I just don’t want to go there before I finish what I’ve been placed on earth to do.

I am not deluded. I am fully aware that can accomplish no lasting good in my own power. The time of my departure and even the impact of my life are solely in the hands of God, not mine. However, I am equally certain that I can become dull to the opportunities and diminish my own influence by becoming complacent or apathetic. I want my life to count. I hope for significance and to leave this world a better place than I found it. 

I intend to fulfill my God-given purpose, but life (the aging process, my personal rate of decay, loss of energy, aching joints, etc.) happens fast. I lost my dad to cancer fourteen years ago and mom about five years after that. Then, my dear wife, at the young age of fifty, lost her battle with Leukemia. The oncologists stopped chemotherapy and gave her only “weeks to months,” exactly four years ago. I became a single parent of two teenagers still at home on August 30th, 2015. 

How can I do it? Life is fleeting. Death surrounds me. Will I last long enough to complete the mission I am called to perform?

I’m not alone. The author of Psalm 71 identified similar feelings within himself:

“But don’t turn me out to pasture when I’m old or put me
on the shelf when I can’t pull my weight.”

“I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray. God, don’t walk off and leave
me until I get out the news of your strong right arm to this world, news of your
power to the world yet to come, Your famous and righteous ways, O God.”

When my youngest boy was eight years old, he announced, “It’s not that I want to play golf. I have to play golf.” As a result of his (admittedly youthful) zeal, we signed him up for Junior Golf Camp at Red Tail Golf Course. He loved it. We even sprung for a cheap set of clubs. He couldn’t have been happier.

I love my mission, but just like my boy and his golf, it’s not that I want to fulfill it. I have to. I am compelled by an undeniable force within. I can’t explain it or ignore it. I have no choice about turning “old and gray.” That’s already happened. But, I don’t want to be turned “out to pasture” or put “on the shelf” when I’m too old “pull my weight.” I still have energy and purpose. I don’t want to die “until I get out the news” of Jesus Christ’s mighty power to redeem and restore humankind.

2 comments:

Kelly's Ideas said...

I know what you mean about being fearful of our mortality - when I die I hope it's in my sleep - to wake up before my Father.. what a joyful morning that will be.. I have often said things like - I don't want to go before it's my time.. but it isn't about me.. it's about Him and His timing is always right... love to you
Kelly

Dave Scriven said...

You are so right. "His timing is always right". Thanks for the comment, Kelly.