Are Your Best Days Behind You?

Perfectly Imperfect – A Travel Guide for Life, Relationships, and Faith!

 

If you’re human, and over forty, you’ve probably thought at least once, Are my best days behind me? (If you’re a pastor, you struggle with this just about every Monday morning!)

I’m not suggesting you need to be middle-aged or old to wonder about this question. If you felt like your high school or college years were some of your best, then you might have faced this disheartening question early in your life.

I know a guy who was a football star in high school, and he frequently talks about that time as the best days of his life—and he’s my age. It’s sort of sad. Especially since high school was over for him forty years ago.

Recently I was at a retirement party for some friends. I’ve known them for about twenty years, and we worked together on a large church staff for five years. At this gathering, the staff said some very nice things about my friends, and there were quite a few honoring and funny stories told.

I was sitting there, listening, smiling, and remembering, when a question hit me hard. Were those years with them my best years in ministry?

Then I nose-dived into thinking about the marathons and other races I ran as a younger man, the mountains I climbed and skied, the motorcycles I rode, the oceans I surfed and sailed, and the many other adventures of my life.

At sixty, with a bad back and worse knees, most of what I did in my 20s, 30s, and 40s isn’t physically possible anymore. I suppose, if I spent two hours a day in the gym (using time I don’t have) or spent tens of thousands of dollars on surgeries (using money I don’t have), I might get strong enough to run another marathon or climb another mountain. It’s possible but unlikely.

Then, when it comes to ministry, I’ve experienced some awesome mountain tops as well. I’ve been a part of some powerful movements of God (like the Jesus People revival in the 70s). I’ve planted churches and traveled the globe in ministry. When God said, “Go!” I went wherever He led and did so without hesitation or regret. But all of that only adds to that nagging question: Are my best days long gone?

In case you’re wondering, here’s the conclusion I’ve come to: My best days are still to come!

Different, but better.

If you and I define best or better to involve more of the same, then we’re in trouble. If the measure of our future success is based on having the same balance, agility, and strength we once had, then we’re bound for the blues. If we think our memory should be like it was before our mental RAM got full, we’re kidding ourselves.

However, if I believe that God is just as good today in my 60s as He was in my 30s, then I can and should expect more of His goodness in my life.

Living the adventure of following Jesus doesn’t need to be any less of an adventure just because you and I are older or physically limited.

Why not?

Because the secret to a full and fulfilling life is always found in obedience. (You might want to read that again.)

Jesus’ promise of “abundant life” is always connected to abundant conformity to His will. He is Lord. I am not. He is in charge. I am not. He calls the shots. I do not. So regardless of one’s age, the key to a good, better, best, and even great present and future comes down to two words—Yes, Lord!

The exploits of my youth were amazing, not because I was young, but because I chose to take risks driven by faith. God spoke, and I tried my best to obey. At times I miserably failed, but those failures became part of my journey—a learning experience—and life was never boring!

The potential achievements and triumphs of my future can be incredible too if, and only if, I choose that same path of trust and obedience.

Therefore, I refuse to be the “old guy” who sits around reminiscing about the good ole’ days as if the voyage were over. It’s not.

Instead, regardless of how uncomfortable or challenging today or tomorrow might be, when the Father says, “Jump!” I’m going to leap as far and as high as I can. (Even though jumping at my age is rarely graceful.)

Obedience is the path to greatness. Faith is the way to even better days ahead. Taking godly risks is not just for the young. Those who have experienced God’s favor in their past ought to lead the way when it comes to surrender because they know He is faithful and good.

Young or old, the issue is always the same: Will you and I follow Him?

For the record, I’m all in.

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14 thoughts on “Are Your Best Days Behind You?

  1. You are right about “looking back” being a bad idea. Really, if may best days are behind me, then I have finished the race, as Paul says in 2 Timothy. But Paul knew the end for him had arrived, if I don’t, then that means I have not finished the race and God has more for me to do. If he has something more for me to do, then how can that be less then great? I can’t do the physical things I could in the past, but the wisdom I have gained enables me to do some things I couldn’t have done before.

  2. No matter how old we get, God has adventures planned for us each and every day when we obediently follow Him. Living in His hope, all days are good, better, best!
    Blessings!

  3. Thanks Kurt. Needed, but not necessarily wanted to hear this! Also I love the new sermon series!!! Eagerly looking forward to learning from each one!

  4. thanks Kurt!
    Well said!
    We are still on a great adventure!
    Please pray for us as Rick takes on two new roles in the coming months –
    Leading the India partnership of vineyards in the US involved in India and
    Helping the regional overseer for the vineyards in Asia by visiting more different nations in Asia doing seminars and teaching about discovery groups, spiritual formation and vineyard values.
    We have downsized to living in a small condo in Chicago so when we are home we can be closer to our kids and grandkids (one mile from Amy and her family)
    learning Chicago is also a great adventure!
    Thanks for your prayers and our prayers are also with you! Go for it!

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