I signaled for a right turn onto CA-76, heading southwest toward Oceanside and the Pacific Ocean. Although the state worked on the highway every so often, drivers needed to stay alert to avoid potholes. A few were big enough to send vehicles to repair garages for thousand-dollar front-end suspension and alignment overhauls.
“Look at how beautiful the −”
“Shush,” said Jane, holding up her left hand in a stop sign manner. Her Pandora bracelet mirrored the sunlight. “Now it’s my turn.”
I nodded, knowing she wanted details.
“What do you plan on doing?”
“I don’t know.”
“The pastor will call and so will some of your friends, especially Phil and Vinnie.”
“I know, but I don’t have any answers. I walked out during the sermon because I looked at that young pastor and saw the beginning of another preacher’s ministry at Jedidiah Smith Community Church. Yet, I wondered to myself, what about me. What about my ministry? When will I speak the words in my heart?”
“That’s the reason you walked out?”
“What else caused you to do such a silly thing?”
I sat for a few beats with my eyes glued to the road. A red Corvette convertible with its top down blew past us on our left. Within seconds, the sports car disappeared around the next curve. Our Honda’s speedometer stayed at sixty-five miles per hour, my normal speed on the highway.
Then I blew out a deep breath.
“The other day, I read a statement which summed up the philosophy of the U. S. Navy SEALS. It said, ‘I will never quit. If knocked down, I will get back up every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates. I am never out of the fight.’ Those words brought tears to my eyes.”
“Why should those words affect you so much?”
“What price have I paid over the years for the Kingdom of God? Not much. As far as I know, I’ve sat on the sidelines in a comfortable pew, far from any raging battles. Who knows if I would be willing to use every remaining ounce of strength to help my brothers and sisters in a spiritual battle? Only Jesus knows that answer, which I fear He may end up telling me at the Judgment Seat of Christ.”
Jane’s green eyes filled with tears. Drops streamed down her face while her lower lip trembled.
“How can you say that? You have faithfully attended church for over thirty years. You’ve always paid tithes to the church. You’ve prayed and studied the Word. You’ve been a godly husband, father and grandfather. Everyone loves you and thinks you’re a great believer −”
“Honey, that’s the least I should have done. The very least.”
“Is this about turning seventy last month and both of us arriving at the silver-haired years of our lives?” she said, reaching into her purse for a Kleenex.
“As soon as the young pastor opened his mouth for his sermon, a quick memory flooded my mind. It was when we gave our lives to the Lord forty years ago at that little Baptist Church in Murrieta. At the time, I had a deep impression that the Lord wanted me to do something for Him. Preach, teach, I didn’t know for sure what it was, but we had two young children, a new home and I had just started Foxfire Realty. So, I ignored it.”
“I vaguely remember you telling me about that,” she whispered, wiping her eyes with a tissue.
“I’ve had that same impression at various times over the last forty years, but I’ve always ignored it until today. ”
“Are you kidding? You plan on being a seventy year-old preacher, looking for a church to pastor?”
“I have no idea what the Lord wants me to do, but I felt that today was my last chance to obey Him. So, I stood up and turned my back on those things that seemed so important to me for the last forty years. From now on, I plan on getting up in the morning and proclaiming, ‘Here I am, Lord, reporting for duty. I’m still in the fight.'”
(Excerpt from an upcoming novel, Still in the Fight by Larry Nevenhoven, © 2019)
Somebody recently asked, “Why do you write novels?”
“To make a prophetic point,” I replied.
Does that mean I believe every senior citizen should walk out of their present churches?
Read the rest of this series.
(Continued in Part 3…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)