You Ain’t Dead Yet

“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” —Luke 9:62

When my dad was sixty, I remember him telling me how he wished he could sit down and play beautiful music on the piano. I asked him why he didn’t hire a teacher and learn how to do it. He said, “I’m too old.” I responded, “I’m sure that if you started now and put in the practice time, you could do some really nice things on the piano in five years probably sooner. And how old will you be in five years?”

He said, “Sixty-five.” I said, “Right, so you could be sixty-five and unable to play piano or a sixty-five-year-old piano player.”

Apparently, I am far more able to give such advice than heed it. One night while we were living in Savannah, my wife and I were sitting on our porch talking. I was becoming anxious to find a different way to serve God. I felt like I wasn’t in the place where my gifts were best suited, and I felt stuck. I listed off several “I wish had done ___ differently” and “I regret that I never___” statements when during a brief pause my wife looked at me and said,

“You ain’t dead yet.”

There was something profoundly spiritual in those Southern-toned words. In them, she admonished my tendency to look back with regret and the inertia it creates. There was no sense in dwelling on the past. Want to move forward in life, do some course correction, or accomplish a goal you’ve long desired? The time is now, do what you are able, you’re still alive.

A gift of Ordinary Time is that we are reminded that we are given the time and space to grow. And in our walk with God, we can get stuck if we waste too much time looking back. We can become like Lot’s wife after she looked back at Sodom – frozen in place. So may we all resolve to use this Ordinary Time to get unstuck by letting go of the past, living in the now, and growing in love of God and neighbor.


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