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53 Plus a Lifetime

YES! Blogs

53 Plus a Lifetime

Wes Wick

In one of the most contentious battles in US Senate history, party polarization was palpable in Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s recent appointment ... and continues as midterm elections approach.

“When will the States of America legitimately reclaim her first name?” we wonder. We desperately need to pray for more unity in our nation … and may it start with us.

“But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”  Galatians 5:15 (NLT) 

Even in sharing this verse I can picture members of either major party accusing the other of being the malicious instigator. Help us, Jesus! May churches across this fractured nation humbly demonstrate a more perfect union!

Liberals and conservatives vehemently disagreed with each other on principle, process, and person in the Supreme Court nomination hearings—voting almost unanimously along party lines.

Let’s take a deep breath and ponder four bipartisan agreements that may have alluded us in the turmoil. It’s so hard these days to find common ground, but both sides would no doubt agree that: 

1) Our country is fiercely divided, 

2) The stakes were extremely high, 

3) Age 53 is relatively young, and

4) 53-plus-a-lifetime is likely VERY long and hugely significant.

Scarcity (one of only nine Supreme Court seats) collided with abundance (potential for decades of influence).

In most over-fifty contexts, we tend to emphasize the scarcity—not abundance—of significant years remaining. We project that a 53-year-old may have a dozen or so productive years left, before settling down to enjoy the fruit of his or her labor.

Although surrounded by notable exceptions, we often assume influence will shrink during these later years. We don’t instinctively see this as a season to unravel constitutional dilemmas, make long term commitments, go into hard places, or take on other consequential challenges.

Most other public service assignments are restricted by two-to six-year terms, recurring-term limits, or a mandatory retirement age.

“At 53, he is young enough to serve for decades...” the New York Times spotlighted.

Political differences aside, let’s underscore and contemplate this broader, far-flung potential of ‘53-plus-a-lifetime’.

I think of our friends, Bob and Charlene Pagett, who started Assist International in their early fifties. “It was the best decision we ever made together,” Bob shared with me.

Pardon the introspection, but I was 53 when we founded YES! Young Enough to Serve. 53-plus also causes me to reflect (again) on my father-in-law, Don Popineau, who passed away last month at the age of ninety. He turned 53 the year I met him.

 Earlier, my young-adult perception of  Papa Don’s  future was limited by traditional retirement stereotypes—as he closed up shop on his residential painting career. But at 53 he was no common retiree. Many wonderful encores followed, highlighted in my    Half Two  book dedication  .

Earlier, my young-adult perception of Papa Don’s future was limited by traditional retirement stereotypes—as he closed up shop on his residential painting career. But at 53 he was no common retiree. Many wonderful encores followed, highlighted in my Half Two book dedication.

If we persistently follow God’s leading, over-fifty-plus-a-lifetime can be a VERY significant adventure, impacting generations. We’ve seen this potential lived out. Testimonies of a great cloud of witnesses offer compelling and convincing arguments—far beyond reasonable doubt.

Remember, Church, we are the Bride of Christ, and this is no short-term engagement. Together we’ve been elected to serve and court our Supreme Savior for a lifetime.

There is no higher calling, and there are fortunately more than nine seats available at our upcoming marriage supper—room for many more to join us from all directions ... right and left, east and west, north and south.

Help us, Lord, to more fully embrace our own lifetime kingdom potential ... and to nurture that same potential in others.