Preaching Until Our Last Breath

Since we last visited via this column I have turned 71, and we have celebrated Thanksgiving. I mention them together because I am very thankful I’m on the other side of my 70th year.

When I entered into my 70’s I was the picture of health…for a 70 year old. I wasn’t on any medication, and didn’t think I would need any. In fact, I had foolishly thrown away my Medicare Rx card. Then the dominoes started to tumble.

My PSA took a jump, and it was discovered that I had prostate cancer. As it was being addressed, it was discovered that I had Afib. Going from healthy to having cancer and a heart condition was disconcerting to say the least.

By the grace of God both conditions were apparently successfully treated. I don’t have to see my oncologist or my cardiologist for a year. And the $500 a month medication that was reduced to $50 when I got a new Rx card is no longer needed. I’m back to self-prescribed baby aspirin and fish oil. As I said, I am very thankful.

It would appear that health issues and age may have given some the idea that retirement might be on the horizon for me. Several have asked me about the possibility, and I’ve been encouraged by their response to assurances that I haven’t even had a glimpse of that distant horizon. And I had to laugh when someone left a book on my desk about how to avoid burnout in ministry. I took that as a sign they hoped I wouldn’t burn out any time soon. Let me assure you that I have no plans to do so.

In fact, those who know me well have probably noticed that burnout has never been an issue for me. I’ve always tried to maintain a healthy balance between ministry, family, and personal time. I long ago gave up the “I’d rather burn out than rust out” mantra. I just want to keep going until I exchange a worn-out temporal body for an eternal one.

Jesse, our missionary in Thailand, and I share the same goal. After he sent me a note assuring me of his thoughts and prayers concerning my health, and I told him I was doing well, and assured him of my prayers on behalf of his many health issues, he responded with, “Praise God! We will preach Christ until our last breath.”

That is indeed my hope and prayer.

God Bless, Rick

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