Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Don't DIE Until God Calls You Home!

Grace Church of Lititz, Pennsylvania has been privileged over the years to have Dr Bill Randolph as part of its family. Dr Randolph was the second president of Lancaster Bible College. Back in June, Dr Randolph went home to be with His Lord. My wife and I had the privilege of knowing Dr. Randolph for the past three years. I can tell you that it always meant a lot to me to have Dr Randolph hug me with one of his huge bear hugs after the Sunday morning service and tell me what my sermon meant to him.

Laura and I were also very privileged to attend Dr Randolph’s memorial service. I was moved listening to all of the wonderful tributes that were given about the impact of such a faithful servant of the Lord. But there was one statement that was made that to me stood “head and shoulders” above all others. Tim Weaver is another gentleman in our church who was to Dr Randolph what Timothy was to the Apostle Paul. Tim gave a tremendous eulogy which included some special pictures of Dr Randolph. One of these pictures was Dr Randolph, who was legally blind, sitting on a Harley Davidson motorcycle with his blind cane in hand. Tim talked of the way Dr Randolph lived his life to the fullest, in spite of his age and his physical disability. He then quoted a statement that Dr Randolph had told him. I loved it. He said (my paraphrase), “Tim, don’t die until God calls you home!

Now I am only 42 years old and I am in fairly good health. But one day I will join the ranks of the Senior Citizens and find my body and my health beginning to deteriorate more quickly. I have spent twenty years of ministry watching people who have already reached that golden stage of life. And to my despair, most seem to reach a point where either their age or their health causes them to simply quit living even though they are very much still alive. They stop challenging their mind. They stop all hobbies. They back out of all ministry involvement. It is as if they decide to spend the last decade or more of their life simply existing instead of living.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I fully understand that there are challenges with aging that are extremely difficult. One of the most vibrant and sweetest Senior Citizens I have ever met lives in Osceola, Indiana. Her name is Agnes Bracker. Agnes is well up there in age and has had many physical adversities. She would always say, “Getting old isn’t for sissies!” I’m sure she is right. Yet, like Dr Randolph did, she continues to get as much out of life as she possibly can.

My hope and prayer is that as the next several decades pass by and the challenges of aging become a daily reality for me, whatever the pain, whatever the age, whatever the disability, may I remember at that time the two phrases from two role models when it comes to growing old. May I never forget their powerful words:

Getting old isn’t for sissies!”

Don’t die until God calls you home!”

If you are participating in the “Grace Church Bible Reading Challenge,” today’s reading is Psalm 119:129-176. Be sure to go to our special website ( and share how God uses this passage in your life, read what others have written, or ask a question about the passage!

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