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August 19, 2022 6:00 am
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Then Focus on the Family will be exploring the latter years of life that season past middle age but before retirement. It often creeps up on us and we just didn't get ready for that. It's time for reflection and maybe it's time for some adjustment that as well. Your hostess focus Pres. and Dr. Jim Daly I'm John Fuller and just for fun. We show your already have a fight way to segment you just feel like your stumbling eyes low entry about healing my age because that is funny what we have moments of speaking of age. Okay, so you can choose your clothes and shoes, sometimes based on comfort more than style. It seems like that is why we might not have your list of contacts or Rolodex. A lot of the name start with Dr. Dr. yes this is a very common thing for me, but it takes you longer to rest than it did to get tired that my assignment just clicking on a night out is maybe spent on the patio who found mailing actually okay what about bedtime.
Now this is not have higher down like 9 o'clock. Exhaustively we look at each other and it's her life who's going to go first so okay so were really expressing the fact that were dipping our toe into that fourth-quarter what we we aren't retirement, yet maybe passed when I look at is four quarters 0 to 20 is the first courtier figuring out the offense and defense in the second quarter 20 to 4040 to 6060 to 80.
So what will quarter you well. I could be in one of those. I am doing. That's the point, and we want to talk to everybody today about how do we finish well and we got a wonderful guest to help us in that discussion, let's think of the apostle Paul who said this in second Timothy 47 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. That is the goal, it is that the long-term view and I think a lot of folks either are feeling like I get to disengage from responsibility. That's what retirement is or they're afraid of it. What's next what's around the corner at this God still has a purpose for you in the fourth quarter. That's the best way to look at it and you know it may not be the healthiest time your life you're probably coping with a few things, but God still intends for you to be productive and I love that idea. That's how I feel about the fourth quarter. I'm 60 so I've got and I'm just the beginning of that and who knows how the Lord will continue to use what Jean and I can do as a couple and as individuals. What we as you mentioned.
Have a great guest with us today. John Goodale and he is a pastor he's at First Presbyterian Church here in Colorado Springs.
He's written a book that will be the basis for the conversation today is called finishing well biblical lessons to maximize your later years and will have you stop by the episode notes to find the link to that book or give us a call. Pastor John, welcome to focus on.
It's good to be with you today how much fun Melanie. Let me go right at maximizing those last years. I don't know if I like that idea I might want minimize the seekers I want to be working as hard well and I think that's our natural tendency is a point where we want to coast. We worked hard.
We might have less energy but part of what drove this book was just so many people in the Bible who don't finish well and you just shake your head and that's rattle some of those off as you wrote the book.
What were the characters in Scripture. Caught your attention that didn't finish well probably the ones that stood out the most for the kinks, I mean David. David started so strong and yet by the end just kind of a shell of a person and problems with parenting that that one so good. Solomon started out well. By the end lots of wives are turned away from God and so many others it just they started their walk with God strong and by the end they had just stepped away. Did you find in your research. I mean, what are those common human foibles that hold them in that direction to pull them away from God so they didn't finish well. My sense is a big part of it is wheat we don't keep our eye on the ball know what we don't look ahead, we don't look down the road we don't think about.
I want to finish like Paul does, what's that going to take. We just focus on today and we focus on tomorrow and the daily things that just can can be good, but they keep us from a bigger sense of my last years.
I want them to be my best years.
That's good that you mentioned the story of Joshua who was I guess you could refer to him as a general military general who led the Jewish people to the promised land.
What that his life demonstrate in those latter years I what I love about Joshua's story is there's appointment in the book of Joshua were God says to them you are very old and I think I think wow if God is going to say you're very old and he must've been well along.
They did have good mirrors back in that time, God had to tell you that I will good but but I also find myself wondering then God rattles off all these things.
Joshua still had to do if there might've been a temptation on his part to think I've done all these things in the past.
It's time to kinda let someone else step in and God said Joshua you still got more life to live that caution.
I want to really dig into that for a minute that idea that you know in your 60s. Perhaps her 70s, maybe early 70s that you still see a long view to some people you know they may think well is the fourth quarter, 60 to 80. So now it's going to be wrapping up retirement take care of the grandkids noun again and then you know that's kind of what I see is my wrap-up time expand that for us. What are some different ways you could be looking at the fourth quarter of your life. My sense would be for folks to look at what they still have to offer the world. You know what kind of ripples, can we still create maybe it's children.
Maybe it's grandchildren. But what Tom what do we still have to offer to those around us and how can we do it well.
Give an example of what that would look like words of blessing I think are huge and you know our kids know that we love them grandkids know that, but sometimes we don't really intentionally tell them why were proud of them. What we see in them that's developing that somehow helps them feel better about themselves, not just as grandma or grandpa love them but because were pointing out something that is God in them that they can celebrate yeah I would think that at that time in your life, you become often the mentor people may turn to you in your church or in your you know your circle of friendships where you might have a younger couple. For example, and you and your wife might end up either intentionally or unintentionally, and then touring that younger couple that's something we're doing now John, it focuses signing, inexperienced couples up the had longer marriages to help mentor younger married couples. That's a good thing.
How do you not stay.
I guess kind of self focused and in your latter years be able to give back to those around you well and I think you've touched on something key because there are things we lose as we get older energy may be not quite as much chance for success.
As we had when we were younger, but what we gain as we have perspective and we have years and decades of perspective and to be able to share that wisdom with people to look around and not regale people with our stories, but something who can I build up. Who can I encourage like that regale with your story sets. Let me tell you another one gallon back when I was a kid so I appreciated John the prompt for the book, and I turned 62 this past year and I was I was kind of struck by did it snuck up on me in a way, I didn't expect and I think it's because my dad who is now 91 retired, the month he turned 62 so he's been retired for 29 years I worked hard and he did a lot of volunteering. After he retired, but I found myself thinking how did he do that.
I have no interest whatsoever in retiring.
I would like a little capacity a little space a little extra vacation days. LMC is 40 oh okay I were expecting 20 more years I love what I do I'm not ready to walk away from that. So I'm energized to give as much as I can at focus, but there's probably the reality that as you were just saying I'm I'm gonna wind down.
My energy levels will stay the same. I'm in a flood book intros more and more gym time drinking hot.
How do we approach these milestone birthdays and keep things in the right perspective I think one thing that's helpful is to not be focused on what we've lost or what we can't do anymore and to put our focus on what we still have and what we still can do and to really keep that the focus I think that keeps our edge sharp gentlemen to go to legacy because that's an important part of the book and this idea that when I first read this, I kinda stopped and thought about what what's going on in my heart. In this statement in there about everybody wants to be remembered for something frame achievements. Maybe their wealth but very few people do anything noteworthy enough for the history books. So what can a legacy can we realistically expect to leave I think is a Christian. Wow. I mean that what your legacy should be is the fruit of the spirit that you love your neighbor you took care of people when you could and loved your family in a way that was yeah it was breathtaking. I like that idea and that you finish well that you know so many times now we see unfortunately Christian leaders that aren't finishing well, whatever it might be pride, no sex or money.
We speak to that whole mess of things and then what legacy should we be aiming for is a lot in this. Yeah, sorry, no.
There's a lot in that unit you know so many of us are familiar with the concept of compounded interest that tell you leave your money in the bank and over time it will grow and I think one of the concepts it came to me in this book is to stuff the compounded nature of our ordinary dates and what I do today may not seem very significant. But if I do it faithfully today, tomorrow, the day after that there's a compounded interest to that that I may never get a street named after me, but I can potentially impact the lives of those around me because I sought to be faithful to today and tomorrow and I trusted that God would use that and that is so good you urge older adults to not dwell on the things that were going to lose. This is a little tough because I'm not experiencing this. Yet I don't think you know your youth, your influence, your health, what should we concentrate on you and I'm blessed to be able to work with an older generation in our church and so many of them. I admire just for how fully they are still living there, focusing on on each other on community, not just their life, but building other people up around them and they're looking in their community from places that they can still somehow have an impact in some way, even if it's driving a vehicle for the senior citizens organization and it was a couple of relatives, Jim and our family godly women there in their 90s and they're very frail and unable to engage with people very much in and they both have said independent of each other. I'm just not any use anymore and I keep thinking you love the Lord, you pray a lot yes you've got value just even if you sit there and pray that's that's work in the kingdom of God and and too often we think that's all that's left versus realizing that's the most important thing any of us can do. Yeah in that area of legacy you share story and thereby the Swiss chemist.
I like to give the name away because I think that this is really good at this gentleman created dynamite and he didn't want to be known for that.
So what did you do, but it's a fascinating story that he created all these weapons of mass destruction sold them to countries that amassed a huge fortune and his brother died and this individual was Alfred Nobel, and by mistake.
He saw his obituary published and he read it and he was horrified to see how he would be remembered and that's what prompted him to reassess his life and create the Nobel Peace Prize. That's a quite most people certainly would know him for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Not that he created dynamite. I didn't know that so he was able to really reverse that legacy and become intentional about what was still in front of John. I think at a more practical level, you know, looking a little lower than the Nobel Peace Prize here but you had a story in the book about a schoolteacher who distributed blue ribbons to the class described that story and kind of the pass. It on value of what to place her, you know, I think as we grow older we have a sense to feel overlooked or undervalued by society around us is okay. This particular story. There's a schoolteacher that gave a project to her students a ribbon that said who I am is important and she asked him to take it out to three other people to give it to them.
So, one student took it to someone who had helped with his career, gave it to him asked him to pass to moron that individual gave one to his boss and his boss that night set his son down and he said that the most amazing thing today happen. Someone told me who I am is important, and they asked me to continue this boys project I want to give you this tonight because you're important. I don't always acknowledge that with the focus I give you with the time that I spend with you but I want to say right now who you are is important and the boy began to sob and as the story came out. He confessed after a few moments he didn't think anyone cared about him and he was planning on committing suicide that night six which is the smallest of messages we need to hear, though sometimes there and give them Pastor John. John just mentioned this a moment ago but this feeling this reality that as you grow older you grow weaker physically and emotionally to a degree and probably spiritually and that can be overwhelming emotionally to us. We don't like feeling weak were not in a culture that lifts up weakness as a is a virtue virtue right so let me ask you, how do we trust that God might have a plan for us and that weakness and it seems counterintuitive while it does. And yet I love the perspective that Mike Airy said once he said the American dream is to live in our strength God's dream is that we live in our weakness because it sews places of vulnerability that were reminded how much we need him for that person who may be living in a place where they find it difficult to lean into God. Why is it important to remember to lean in the God. Especially maybe in the fourth quarter of life.
I think because we can't do it ourselves, our bodies are slowing down and we need that sense of hope that God provides.
We need that sense of meaning and purpose that it adds to our lives beyond what our daily activities are. We need that the loving relationship that tells us we are valued all of those things just create a bigger story for us, then whatever my daily circumstance.
I like that you know one of the things when you do encounter people that are older you have that you price certainly have more than two categories, but generally the one category I'm always impressed by are the uplifting kind of typically humorous kind of take it in stride can attitude usually this is an older man who you know he's just got a joyful perspective about life is not regretting anything. It seems you know that personality type I'm talking about F and that's what I want to be. I want to be that jolly guy the joyful guy that you know I would've done some things differently, perhaps in my life, but I feel like I have served the Lord well and I can be content in where I'm at and to help other people experience joy in life.
I think that if I aim at something that may be what I want to aim at. I want to be one of those guys you Gordon MacDonald in one of his books has a fascinating chapter what kind of an old man, do you want to be and in that chapter.
He describes how he looked at the older men around him who were finishing well and and sought to identify what were their characteristics that he wanted to make his examples in his life as well.
And in that regard. I mean Jeff to set your compass that way does it have to be that intentional. How does a person who's in their 50s start to save themselves especially if they haven't had that expression maybe they're having to reconsider the way they're wired how to go while I don't want to be a grumpy old man you know I I was a runner in high school and I ran the mile intended to be four laps and so I always tended to think that third and fourth lap or were ultimately the most important ones didn't matter how it started, and I think whether were in her 40s 50s 60s 70s 80s 90s were in that last quarter, but how we run those last miles is is going to determine how we finish and how we feel about that finish because most people won't remember us from our 20s and 30s to remember us from. That's a good perspective to have for pastor John you've talked about the power of gratitude and that might be kind of to Jim's question. One of those things that can help us become the joyful old person. What's gratitude but had we find gratitude in the midst of may be a crumbling body and us in difficult circumstances, and one of the most important things we can do is notice just to take the time to look around us to see those things that are so small that can just easily be overlooked in a day and allow that to begin the fuel at a sense that there is good in our lives that there is good around us and then to express gratitude. Something about expressing gratitude that when we do that it it fills us back up within as well is so good you know in the last few minutes or I just wanted to talk about hope, which is a certainly a topic within your book. The idea that we need to be people of hope. Hope moves us forward. You experience the powerful many years ago when you left your home to pursue a PhD. I think from it was at Washington state to California right right and yet you felt lonely at what was going on as that experience as a younger man, how are you applying it to your life today or yeah I was a time when I went down to seminary mood states found myself suddenly realizing that the reason I had gone down. There wasn't going to be a trajectory for me and at that point I didn't know what I was doing. How old were you that I was 27 And just prayed every day.
Got enough funds was to pack up and go back or stay here and what classes do I take and there was just there was a day where as audibly as I've ever heard in my life.
It's as if I sensed God say your where I want you to be an and I didn't know what that meant but it was enough to know that I was where God wanted me to be and I think that is part of what fuels hope for us a sense that God is still out in front of us, leading us to to wherever it is that he wants us to let me tease that out a little bit because I think both for the younger person as well as the older person we have that experience. I think many of us could probably look back to our 20s that decade is full of decisions and you know your if you went to college or finishing college or selecting a job or career might be, you know that you're going to get married, and that twentysomething early thirtysomething range is a lot going on and you can pray that prayer you can feel what you just express it was so tangible it was almost audible. I'm right where God needs to be and then there's two set of circumstances around that thing start happening very positively.
It's an obvious experience and right. What about the other, though where you might have felt that but circumstances are making it easy for you to believe that that person do did they make a mistake, did they not almost hear the Lord yet was. Circumstances can be fickle, can think, oh yeah and you know I think about the psalmist and Psalm 46 is describing all this chaos around him, and yet there's a calm within and I think when someone senses God is leading them in a way and then circumstances suggest otherwise. Maybe there's something there but I think that's something we need to spend a lot of time leaning in your community. Asking those around us who know us well what did they see that that's been a significant experience for me in my life as well in ministry to listen to those around us that God places us in community. See mentioned in the book about building and maintaining this reservoir of hope, that sounds great to want to be that person. How we do that if you come from a hopeful spot. It's probably easier for you and then you have people that are coming from such a hopeful spot in there now turning 6070 and then will see much that is hopeful so we do. Yeah, I think hope in general just hanging out there doesn't propel us forward very well, but if we can try to attend. Make it a little more tangential so you know, for someone to just look out even in the next week even in the next month.
What is something that I want to try to accomplish what is something I want to try to experience God. What is some way that you can use me in this time and I'm gonna worry about the rest of it later and just to have something so specific in mind that we can see something that's realistic enough that we know. It's possible that God really could do this in my life.
Or he could accomplish this with me, but also something big enough that can keep us moving forward. Right to say this is worth leaning into one thing that I'm trying to think through ahead of time. Being a young man is when I'm facing that adversity.
Whatever might be physically I'm in my last days.
My last week's whatever that might be in. However that might come across. Here's the reality of it wrong to face it. Nobody gets to escape death can't buy your way out of it. You can pray your way out of it. It's the equalizer became then naked in Aleve naked is planning a Scripture that talks about that. That's just a reality now for us as Christians.
How do we exhibit that in a way that people are like wow, that guy really knew where he was going. I think one of the.
The contrast problems I have is that people that are Christian are very worried in those last days there. I mean they've lived their lives with the stake in the ground that I believe in Jesus and I live for Jesus and I take care of the poor for Jesus and I raise my kids in the name of Jesus and all of a sudden it's like I'm not breathing as well as I use to. I want to have that attitude that I know where I'm going I want to go Yahoo from this life to the next and men encourage me that way that that's the way it should be, you know, one of the blessings of my role working with our older congregation is I get to be alongside those people who are 1 foot in this world 1 foot in the next and just four days ago visited a man who was at that point and to see so many of these individuals that are just confidently ready to move forward and once in a while in all visit someone who doesn't have that confidence and I think the key is that we wear out a path today that we wear it deep enough that when we get to that point in life were not suddenly trying to figure things out. We figured it out along the way and were resting in that at the end, but I just love love seeing those folks who are at the end and they have finished the race, you know. And really, honestly, I would love to be around those people to because it is such a great illustration of how to do well and I want to be that kind of model that role model that I'm not fearing death and that you know look just like the apostles if you kill me this were to me that way doesn't matter because I know I'm going. I pray for you before you take my life. I mean, that's confidence and in a pile in that way for us but just having a confidence in God that we know were headed to and this is what we believe John this is fantastic at what a great reminder for people of all ages to think about where this is all heading and you're going to get there everything you're going to get there. John, you know were then hit the 60s you can hit the 70s, God willing, and then you know and you gotta start thinking about how this wraps up and you have mentioned so many great things to think about in this book, finishing well biblical lessons to maximize your later years and a son about working harder is just about trusting more and that John thanks for being with us. Thank you for having me today if you want to get a copy of this great resource. I think this is one you want to look at and read that get home Focus on the Family and we will send it along to you for gifted any amount and in doing so your partnering with us in ministry because were in use all those resources not to pay shareholders but to do ministry together. So make a one-time gift or a monthly gift and will send it as our way of saying thank you.
Donate. As you can and I request this book finishing well by John Goodale. My numbers 800 K in the word family or click the link in the episode notes. We hope you have a great weekend with your family and your church family as well, then please join us again on Monday for a review of some important questions you should ask before you get engaged. Are you going to go to church together you can give you going to be in a small group with others. What is it are you going to do some Bible studies together to pray together all those kinds of practices on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ you ever wonder when it was like to meet face-to-face teaching on the leading Messiah novelty Focus on the Family, I have called you by name. Based on the hit streaming theories immerse yourself in first century Galilee, when I dive deeper into Scripture with everything Stern learn more about the chosen novel focusonthefamily.com chosen focusonthefamily.com – 10 that