Today I turn 65; and in all honesty I don’t find it unsettling at all. Since I have known it was coming it doesn’t take me by surprise. I went on Medicare March 1 (although I haven’t used it yet) and began taking social security last year. Here are some of my thoughts as I come to this milestone.
I DON’T FEEL OR ACT OLD
Of course I realize I am not 40, 50, or even 60; but I don’t really feel that old. My health is pretty good and I remain active regularly playing golf and going to the Fitness Center two or three times a week. It can be embarrassing to my family, but I don’t act old either. If you could see me playing with my grandsons (ages 6 and 2) or be in one of the classes I teach at Hope International University you would agree I don’t act old. My wife and daughter sometimes chastise me, and I do periodically have to remind myself I am a professor, but I want to have fun and be fun.
I’m 65 and on Medicare, but I don’t feel or act old.
I’M NOT FINISHED GROWING
In terms of continuing to learn and spiritually mature I am still making progress. I still read a lot of books, magazines, and online newsletters. Teaching History and Literature of Ancient Israel at Hope has been a real plus. Most of my graduate work was in New Testament and teaching this course has made the Old Testament more interesting and important to me.
Since I am no longer regularly preparing to preach, my Bible reading has become more meaningful and rewarding. In connection with my Bible reading I still often consult commentaries to see what others have to say, but I’m applying what I read to my own life more than ever before. And the devotional books I read not only challenge my thinking, but also the way I live as a follower of Jesus.
I’m 65 and sort of retired, but I’m not finished growing.
I’M NOT THROUGH BEING USED
I was a youth minister or pastor for 44 years before I stepped down after 30 years at my last church in October of 2014. But that does not mean God is no longer using me in His service. Being an adjunct professor of biblical studies gives me a great opportunity to impact and influence first year college students. I also get to “guest” preach some Sundays. And I continue to write as well. As you may or may not know, I have published two books in the last year. (A Pastor and the People: An inside Look through Letters and Questioning Jesus: Considering His Responses are both available on amazon.com.) And I view this blog as a ministry to those who read it.
I’m 65 and no longer serving a local church, but God has not stopped using me.
I’M MORE IN LOVE THAN I’VE EVER BEEN
Two of the greatest blessings and joys in my life are my two grandsons. Only readers who are grandparents can identify with my love for them. In many respects I think I love my two grown children, Audrey and Rob, more than I ever had. And I know I love my wife Jan of almost 42 years more this year than I did last year.
The reality is I’m in several long term committed relationships. In addition to my marriage, I am also in a long term committed relationship with the Bible, the Church, and the Lord. I love the Bible, the Church, and the Lord more than ever. The only real downside of having stepped down from my church several months ago is that we haven’t yet plugged in where we love and are loved by a church family. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love the church at large as well as the local church.
I’m 65, but am more in love now that I’ve ever been.
I’M THANKFUL FOR THE PAST AND LOOK FORWARD TO THE FUTURE
I guess 65 is one of those special birthdays like 13, 18, 21, 40, and 50. With the first four most people look forward and with 50 and beyond I guess many people look back. As I turn 65 I am looking both back and forward. As I look back I am filled with gratitude. And as I look forward I have a sense of anticipation.
I’m 65 and don’t know what the future holds, but I am thankful and excited.
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