Thirty six years ago God gave me Psalm 74:18 as my Passion Verse. I was thirty years old at the time and could hardly imagine being old and gray. Yet, it has been framed and hanging over my desk for all those years. Now, it makes more sense, suddenly realizing I am old and gray.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your
power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.
Psalm 71:18, NIV
What seemed so distant then is now reality and has given me pause for reflection and a greater sense of urgency. Two or three directional arrows have been travel alerts all along the way---
1. There is consistency in the spiritual markers of these years.
Having this Passion Verse early on in ministry has given clear definition in the
length and breadth of my ministry career. Perhaps answering his call later in life
placed the urgency of the next generation more firmly in my goals and
objectives. This sense of consistency has provided guidance markers in each
place of service, a small way to verify his placement in four great churches and
time with the SCBC.
2. This verse has further confirmed my confidence in God's Word.
These thirty-five years has seen a collapse in the prevailing church culture in
America. What at one time was a creeping secularism is now galloping to
prominence. That this one Bible verse could so completely define my ministry
again confirms the veracity of every word of Scripture. I'm no King David, for
sure. But, to know this passion was in his calling reminds me that God's Word
is eternal and can be applied even in these cynical times.
3. Psalm 71:18 provided a purpose and passion beyond my active ministry.
Retirement for me has been the end of ministry service. There has always been
a next chapter and this verse carried me passionately into it. Thirty-five years
later this verse still challenges and excites me. How gracious of him to give us
passion into our old and gray years.
What is the practical import of a Passion Verse? I can only speak for myself. But, this line from David's Psalm keeps me moving forward even when I am old and gray.
And, for this I am truly grateful.