I'm driving my parents to the airport tomorrow.
They are 70 years old, but that's not stopping them. They are flying to South Africa to serve as missionaries.
I'm used to dropping Mom and Dad off at the airport, so I'm not too emotional right now; but I am sure it's going to hit me sooner or later. After all, I've spent the last five years, almost six now, pastoring alongside of Dad here at Grace Fellowship in Coopersburg and it's been good, real good.
I was thinking this morning a little bit about what I've learned from watching Dad and Mom these past several years. I'll emphasize little because this is just a start. (I think I'll just give one today, and jot thoughts down the next couple days as I think on this.)
1.) It's possible to be old, to have been in the ministry a long time, and be humble.
It sounds funny to say that, but if you've got a guy who is used to leading, it can be hard for him to follow. And what's more, if you've got a guy who is used to preaching, it can be hard for him to listen.
It seems like it should be the opposite.
I mean, if you've preached long enough you should know how hard it is and want to encourage the one who is preaching by listening. Besides, if you've studied long enough you should know how important and blessed you are to sit and listen to someone who has studied long and hard that week.
It seems like it should be the opposite...but it often isn't.
I know, I want to be the kind of guy who is 90 years old and who listens to a 25 year old preacher and still learns and loves it. I want to be the kind of guy who listens to someone preaching on a text I've preached on before, and doesn't go away just critiquing his style but being blessed and transformed by his content.
I also know that's rare.
I think one of the reasons it is hard to be that kind of guy at 90 is because for that to happen, we need to be that kind of guy now. We need to be the kind of people who can listen to others and learn from them.
That sounds like it should be so easy, but for many, it isn't.
I mean, for one thing that's the way God designed it. Plus, we don't know it all. Besides that, a whole lot of what we do know we forget, so it's helpful to be told again. On top of that, it's not a matter of that other person being smarter or more studied than you, it's a matter of God speaking to you through the text of Scripture.
Watching my Dad, I know it's possible. Over the past five years, my mom and dad consistently have been among the most eager to listen and learn from the preaching and teaching of God's Word here at Grace. I have a completely different style of preaching than Dad, there are many things he could critique me on, but that hasn't stopped him or mom from being eager to learn.
I want to be like that.