Thursday, July 2, 2009


How will you spend the rest of your life?

I am having the privilege of walking with people who are dying. I call it a privilege because heaven is a sure reward to those who trust in Jesus. I often feel like I am seeing great athletes cross a finish line about to get the gold medal. One of the precious things to me about both Ralph Mouw and Rollie Simmelink (and many others of their generations) is the way in which so many are living strong for the Lord to the end of their lives. They are doing this because they have not wavered from the walk that they started so many years ago.

I have also seen many who stopped living long before they grew old. These are the ones who settle for a kind of aimlessness in life. At the end of an aimless life, Gordon MacDonald in A Resilient Life observes:

"One of the saddest experiences is to awaken at old age and discover that
one has been using only a small portion of self."

On the flip side of aimlessness are those who keep a sharp focus on Christ and joyful obedience in their step. People like E. Stanley Jones, 50-year veteran of Methodist missions in India. After suffering a stroke at 83, he muttered words that became a book. In it he observed,

"There are scars on my faith, but underneath those scars there are no doubts. [Christ] has me with the consent of all my being and with the cooperation of all my life. The song I sing is a lit song. Not the exuberance of youth that often fades when middle and old age sets in with their disillusionment and cynicism..... No, I'm 83, and I'm more excited today about being a Christian than I was at 18 when I first put my feet upon the way."

I'm thankful for living examples of men who did not cave in to disillusionment in middle or old age.

On Sunday, we'll all meet another example. Our story belongs to Rev. Ron and Margy Sanford. An RCA minister with a wonderful congregation and children all grown, this clergy couple felt called of God to leave their suburban church and children behind for serving Christ by reaching unreached peoples. They now serve with To Every Tribe Ministries. Most couples in their 50s are squirreling away funds for retirement; Ron and Margy are banking on Christ's provision and giving their lives away. I'll preach on Ron's favorite text (Romans 15:14-21), and we'll all be inspired by the story of one who says, "I don't want to shine my light for Christ in a room that is already lit."

Also on Sunday, we'll celebrate Holy Communion.

In the grip of grace,

Pastor Jon Opgenorth


Remember in prayer the Haiti team returning Friday. All is going well. We anticipate hearing of God's grace in their lives. Thanks be to God!


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