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The Ninth Decade of Life

Pastor Mur talks about finishing well and blessing the people you encounter no matter where you are in life.

Once you pass your 80th birthday, opportunities disappear. Everyday logic says that you are too old for a new career in any field. Time is short. Health, a question. No one wants you, your best days have gone by; the world belongs to the young who have prospects for growth, not death. Once you are 80, you need to get out of the way. You have had your day.

This will change somewhat in coming years since our population is aging, and our retirement planning and provisions are in jeopardy, if they exist at all. Many people my age will have to be productive since they will live longer, and the economics of life will demand that they work or go without.

I have been bi-vocational for the last 26 years. I am a civil engineer that specializes in solving problems that arise on large and small construction jobs, and I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Part of my ministry is a staff pastor in a large church, and one of the things I do is to pastor a group of the older people in the church. I will be 81 on my next birthday. The oldest in that group is 92.

Image: David Marcu

I am well aware of the verses in Ecclesiastes 12 and while I realize the truth of those words, I am not ready to be taken where I do not want to go, nor I am ready to give up living or hoping. My Bible tells me I have a future and a hope without any age limitation, and those are the words I choose to live by. Futures and hopes involve risk, and being willing to make the effort that will require God’s help for success.

Another of my ministry activities is to stand at one of the side front exits of our church, and bless those who exit by that door. I do this every Sunday after the 7:00 and 9:00 morning services. I make my way to the door as the preaching minister invites the congregation to stand for the closing prayer and the final song of the service.

I get to look out at the 800 to 1,000 that are in the audience for five minutes or so twice each Sunday, and while I am looking at them, I pray for individuals that catch my eye. Today, I looked at a man in a brightly colored shirt, and I prayed “Lord will you bless the fellow in that shirt this week”. I soon noticed another shirt the same color and I prayed for that person, and for another six or eight that also were similarly dressed. I did not know any of these by name.

No one knows I do this. I do not know most of those I bless. They do not know I pray for them, so I have no idea what my prayers achieve, but I am convinced that the God I turn to is eager and wanting to bless those I select each week.

I open the door as the service ends, and perhaps 40 to 100 people pass by. I say or repeat the word “blessings” to many; sometimes I say “woman of God, man of God or God loves you”. There is not time to say more since they pass by quickly. Some shake my hand, but most do not. It’s a double door, and they are moving along in two’s and three’s, so my ministry lasts five minutes and they are all gone.

I have gotten to know or recognize many that exit by my door since they pass that way every week. I often wonder what my speaking those blessings means to those that hear my words. I know that God hears me and ministers to those I bless, and those you bless.

I have learned to bless people, businesses, stores, cars, trucks, buses, ambulances, all kinds of things as I drive around town. I go by City Hall and bless the Mayor, the city council and those who work there as I pass. Would you, God, bless our Governor and the legislators? There is no end of people and things to bless. Imagine what could happen if each of you who read these words begin to bless those who pass by you.

God, would you bless each one that reads these words out of their socks this week. In Jesus name! Amen.

Pastor Mur
October 30, 2011

 

This encouragement originally appeared in the October 2011 edition of the Pneuma Informer, the email newsletter of the Pneuma Foundation. The Pneuma Foundation is the parent organization of PneumaReview.com.

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Category: Living the Faith, Summer 2015

About the Author: H. Murray Hohns went home to be with Jesus on November 28, 2012. He was on staff at the largest church in Hawaii and served on his denomination's investment committee from 1999 until his death. Hohns held two degrees in Civil Engineering, an MA in Theology from Fuller Seminary, and served as an instructor at Foursquare's New Hope Christian College (formerly Pacific Rim Christian College) in Honolulu. He wrote six engineering books and hundreds of articles in every type of newspaper, magazine and journal.

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