This blog reflects on the personal journey of one who has tried to follow the Lord for the past 65 years.  At my age, one spends time looking back in the rearview mirror, even while yearning to finish strong.  The Psalmist reminds me, “Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty.  But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.” (Ps. 90:10 NLT). I have now reached eighty, and am experiencing the swift passing of time.  The Psalmist then prays, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom” (v. 12).  My continual cry is to have wisdom to pass on to the next generation.

Elsewhere, the Psalmist prays, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is.  You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.   My entire lifetime is just a moment to you, at best, each of us is but a breath” (Ps. 39:4-5 NLT).  As I go to more funerals, I am more acutely aware of life’s brevity.  

My prayer is that I might finish strong.  God knows my numbered days: “You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Psalms 139:16).  At a recent funeral for a  Christian woman from our apartment building, I sat quietly meditating before the service.  I sensed the Lord giving me a three point directive for the rest of my days. 

Why share these with you? Perhaps because who I am becoming in “the fourth quarter” can be expressed in these three directives.  They are simple, not weighted down with obligation and detail, viewed more as being than doing. At my stage of the journey, I can give my emotional and spiritual energy to these three things.  I have learned that the older we get, the simpler life really becomes. 

1) “Cherish your wife.”  This advice was given to me many years ago by my mentor, James Houston.  Cherish means to “protect and care for; to keep in one’s mind.”  In my relationship with Judy, I am to cultivate our oneness in marriage with the utmost care and affection.  Ecclesiastes 9:9 – Message  encourages me to, “Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life.  Each day is God’s gift.”  God has given us 57 years together to grow in the Lord.  Cherish each day with your wife; there are not that many left.  

2) “Point people to Jesus.”  I take this second, direct, and simple point to mean my whole being.  Words, actions and attitude are meant to reflect the presence of Christ.  I desire for people to be ready to meet Jesus when they die.  Remember, I live with seniors and lead a study for “the gray hairs” – as I call us. May my life give off the aroma of Christ. “Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.  Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God” (II Cor. 2:14-15 NLT).  

3) “Act like a man.”  Wow.  When I was a young man, acting like a man was rather simple and straightforward.  Not anymore. There was general consensus about what is means to be a biological man, even with little awareness of the masculine soul.  My life as an “old man” is to reflect the “tough and tender” nature of Jesus – with a more mature understanding of the masculine soul.