In the early 1970’s, I was employed at an auto dealership as an apprentice technician. In the process of hearing God’s voice and calling on my life, I would sometimes spend my lunch hour in my car so that I could focus on what was ahead. That seems like the other end of a long story that we are now looking back on. Those times were a key part of how God kept renewing my thinking and changing my values.
I’m still adjusting to the idea that a phase of my life and ministry has ended. This time, it’s a little different than previous phase changes—in that I don’t foresee ever having another similar position of responsibility. It feels more abrupt, too, as I didn’t finish out the term in a normal sense because of the injury I’m recovering from.
So, I think about the words of Apostle Paul when he confidently claimed that he had done it well, and was finishing well. (2 Timothy 4:7) He modeled a very desirable view of life past, a life that he could recall without shame and with satisfaction. I have always wanted that confidence for myself.
I think about the meaning of “finishing well” and of having “no regrets.” The truth of the matter is that I remember well a few of the times when I regret what I said, or the times when I didn’t find the best way through a difficult episode. I’m sure there are many more times that I’ve now forgotten.
Still, Rita and I agree that we have no regrets for the path we’ve been on, and are still on. Though we are ready for a change in responsibilities, we celebrate the experiences we’ve been given and the grace God has showered on us through seasons where we had no other hope.
These have been years of rich relationships. We are so very blessed to have shared life and ministry with hundreds of people who have made us wiser, have forgiven us, have strengthened us, and have inspired us. That’s worth more than anything I can think of.
These have been years of learning. We may have started out thinking that we had what others needed; but
we have learned so very much from others. The value of seeing the world through another’s lens, the value of learning to communicate in another language, the value of information that we didn’t even know existed. We are not the same—because of what others have invested in us. These years are also rich because of what God has allowed us in family. In spite of our weaknesses, we are inexpressibly thankful for the families we originated from and the offspring we now are privileged to enjoy.
I sincerely thank the boards we have served over the years, for your investment of time and prayer, and for the care and guidance in leadership. I thank the colleagues and teammates we have been privileged to serve with, and to love. What an incredible gift each of you are, still!
And to our readers here, thank you for your interest, your support, and your prayers. You are a critical part of the story as well. All glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.