Deeper in Faith
The Longest Journey
by Norma J. Goldman
What’s the longest journey you’ve ever taken? For most of us, we’d describe a trip of not much longer than a month. That seems like a long time to be away from home. As a child, my parents often drove from Texas across New Mexico and Arizona to California. That was before air-conditioned cars…you get the picture. It seemed like a journey of 40 years to me. There was that hot back seat, the boring landscape, and very little to entertain a wiggly young girl. If you’re retired, you’ll know what I mean when I say the highlight of the trip was the Burma Shave signs.
But what would you say to a journey spanning more than 60 years? I’m referring to the discipleship journey that began when you trusted Christ as personal Savior. Likely, it wasn’t described as a lifelong journey, but you’ve discovered that it is.
It’s the kind of journey Moses described in the Old Testament, when God (using Moses as His messenger) led His children out of slavery and into a new life, one that depended entirely on Him. We can all agree they were slow learners. The trip that should have taken days or months took 40 grueling years. It required unbelievable patience for God to prove His love, faithful care, and commitment to the 12 tribes in the hostile setting of a harsh desert.
Our personal journey out of slavery to sin and into a new life entirely dependent on Him was born out of His commandment to go, baptize, and disciple others. And as we’ve traveled, we’ve brought others alongside on a journey that will continue until life on this earth ends. Far from that boring childhood trip, our journeys have been filled with new experiences, challenges, and opportunities to learn and grow; the signposts along the way have been love letters from God Himself.
Lead and Teach by Example
So what does this journey look like in retirement? We still lead and teach by example. We still learn; we model right living—trust in God, obedience to His Word, faithfulness in giving and serving. As we do, others observe and are strengthened in their own journeys. Who are you leading by example?
Lead by Overcoming
In overcoming hindrances like temper, harsh words, an unforgiving spirit, or lack of compassion, others observe and are challenged to do the same. In whatever setting we find ourselves, people are watching, observing, and measuring us against the teachings of Jesus. My pastor often says, “People don’t have a problem with Christians because we are different, but because we aren’t different enough.” What hindrance do you need to overcome today?
Lead and Teach by Investing
Investing, pouring one’s self into the life of another, is a constant theme in Scripture. As Jesus poured Himself into The Twelve, they in turn poured themselves into others, turning the known world upside down for Christ. Some of you are church planters like those early disciples, while others are like the ones chosen to develop and mature the fledgling churches of the first century. Who and what are you investing in today?
Lead and Teach by Living Joyously
The people you and I gravitate to are those who see and nurture the good in others. We love being near those who are positive about their faith, grateful for God’s provision, and always see the best in others. Does the joy in your life draw others close? Who needs you today to nurture the good in them?
Our journeys are not for the applause of men. We only yearn to hear Him say at journey’s end, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . . Enter into the joy of the Lord.”
About the Writer: Former magazine editor Norma J. Goldman enjoys an award-winning writing career in her retirement. Learn more about the Free Will Baptist Board of Retirement at www.boardofretirement.com.