(Note from Joe: this is a variation on the same subject as our recent article “What the Godly Elderly Can Expect.” As with most pastors, I’m just trying to find the most effective way of getting the message across.)
…the time of my departure is close. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. In the future, there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved his appearing. (II Timothy 4:6-8)
I wish you could have known Ed Logan. The Saturday morning that will forever stand out in my mind, he got up early and left Mary Ellen asleep while he drove across town to Shoneys. The Gideons were having their monthly meeting to plan for more Bibles to be handed out in local schools. When Ed got home, he told Mary Ellen, “I didn’t take any money with me, and those pancakes sure smelled good.” She made him pancakes and they sat there and visited while he ate.
“I’m going over and plow Mr. Everett’s garden,” Ed told Mary Ellen. Everett Beasley lives a couple of blocks from our church. I imagine the two men were similar in age, but Mr. Beasley had numerous medical problems. Ed cranked up his tiller and went to work in the back yard.
That’s where they found Ed Logan. Dead of a heart attack.
That’s the way to go out. In the saddle, with your boots on. In the harness. Hard at work. In the trenches. Choose your metaphor.
The Apostle Paul had been given a gift. He knew his departure was eminent. “I am already being poured out as a drink offering,” he said. “The time for my departure is close.”
So, he reported in. He filed his final report, announcing for anyone interested that his work was done and he had finished the assignment given him by the Lord on that Damascan Road.
They tell me that the trapeze artist and tightrope walker are most vulnerable when taking their last step or two to safety. They’ve been out there above the circus ring, defying death, thrilling the audience. Now, their routine has ended, the crowd is applauding, they’ve done well. If they are not careful, they’ll let their guard down. That final step to safety is critical.
Ty Cobb was one of the great baseball players ever. Over a 22-year-career with the Detroit Tigers he set records that still stand. But he may have been the orneriest, the surliest, the rudest player ever. He lived the last years of his life in a small town in Georgia. Someone told me recently that a few weeks or months before his death, Cobb gave his life to Jesus Christ and was saved.
He sent a message to his teammates. “Tell them I got into the Kingdom in the bottom of the ninth.” Then he said, “I sure wish I’d come in at the top of the first.”
My question for you today is: What inning is it for you? If life is thought of in terms of a baseball game, what inning are you in?
The answer is: There’s no way to know.