Turning 38

I always reflect on my birthday. I look back over my life and think of things I would have done differently, rejoice in things that were done well, enjoy the blessings of God, and think about the future.

At 38, I have done a lot in this short time that is but a vapor. I have served several churches (including planting one), had a bunch of babies, survived divorce, and accomplished a list of many other things. For the first time, I am contemplating my future and have no answers as to what I will do. And that’s okay. Life is pretty much lived a day at a time. And there is much to be done with that in mind.

At 38, I will be the best husband I can be. It isn’t easy. Marriage takes work, but I want to enjoy the moments when Jennifer and I are old and wrinkly. I want to look back and know that we worked through every rough patch and came out closer to each other and closer to the Lord.

At 38, I want to be the best dad I can be. In a blended family of 7 kids, that is also challenging. With kids ranging from 15 to almost 5 months, the needs are vast. I want each one to know that he or she is loved. I don’t have tons of money, but I can leave behind a godly heritage.

At 38, I want to be the best hospice chaplain I can be. For many, I am their pastor at the end of life. It is an honor. In doing that, I want to be a great coworker to the hospice team. I want them to know they have a pastor in me as much as the patients do if they need it.

At 38, I want to be the best servant of Christ I can be. There is nothing flashy about me. I’m just an ordinary guy who serves an extraordinary God. When people look at me, may they see a reflection of Jesus in my life.

If I base my lifespan upon the biblical average of 70, I am in the last half. I want it to count. I would love to have the energy of years past coupled with the insight I have gained thus far. I trust that God will grant me a measure of that.

A few years ago, I was sitting in Chick-Fil-A talking to a pastor friend. I told him that I felt I was on the sidelines. He told me that I was in half-time. The first half of the game may have been rough, but the Coach was prepping me to finish well and win. Four years later, I still feel like I’m there. Whatever Jesus, the Coach, wants to teach me in this season is fine with me. My life has not been perfect, but I want to end well. I want to hear “Well done” when I cross the finish line and see my Savior face to face. It will be worth it all!

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37 thoughts on “Turning 38

  1. Amen! Happy Birthday, Matthew! It sounds like you’ve definitely got your priorities in the correct order: Jesus first, wife, kids, and everything else will come into place according to God’s timing.

    I don’t know what great things God has in store for you, but I know whatever next assignment He gives you, you will excel in it because you are keeping Him first.

    Continued Blessings to you, brother.

  2. Happy birthday Pastor Matthew! May this year bring forth many more happy times. Some will be challenges while others fun. But through them all God has always been, and continues to be right there for you. Your journey has a new direction, a quieter more balance one. Letting you enjoy your cake with your family and people who can use your enthusiasm for God and life.
    In letting you cut down some of your activities you appreciate and your reflections show it, what stopping and smelling the flowers means spiritually. It’s not the quantity but quality of time well spent. God has a way of bringing what we need at the moment we need it. God has you where He wants you right now. Blind faith can be intimidating but worth the trip when Christ is at the helm. You already show our Lord’s reflection inside you.
    My mama was always telling me ‘to enjoy today, with all its ups and downs as hard as it may be at times, if you look at it as lessons that bring out the best in your person. God’s purpose is very different then what we think we need. Stay close to Him, yesterday has past and tomorrow has yet to come. Today is what matters, therefore make it your best.’ This came to mind when I too was observing the years past.
    Happy Birthday, blessings always.

  3. Happy 38! I just hit the big 40 this past year and it really does change your perspective and priorities for the better… may you have great clarity and passion moving forward into Godโ€™s plan!

  4. Life I like any other game with its rules and its goal. It matters not how you start but rather how you finish.
    With age we gain knowledge. Knowledge that does not feed wisdom, feeds the ego. The wise man is in line with God’s will. The ego driven are in line with their own will.
    From this post Matt you are becoming a wise man. In that God knows you because in you He sees Himself. Should this come to be in the end…..the goal will have been achieved.
    -Alan

  5. Something God always reminds me with is that His timing is not our timing. He is a Potter who takes His time. His work is precious to Him.

    We are precious to Him. I think in the face of trials we need to guard ourselves with this truth.

    May God bless you this year with growth, new insights, and continued glory for His name.

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