I’m Not Done Running My Race and Neither Are You

“There are no has-beens,” a friend of mine wrote recently. “Every one of us who is still breathing is still becoming.”

Then he told the story of an old preacher who gave up his last permanent pulpit two years ago. But the preacher missed preaching so much that he’s now agreed to fill in at a church for a few weeks.

The most amazing thing about this story is that this preacher is eighty-nine years young! That means he gave up his last permanent pulpit when he was eighty-seven??

Yet he’s still not done running his race, and neither are you, neither am I—no matter how old or young we are, whether we’re on salary, contract, or serving as volunteers, part-time, bi-vocational, tri-vocational, whether we work for the church or some other Christian organization, whether we’re pastors or community development workers or whatever God has given us to do. Our involvements and responsibilities may change in different seasons of life and depending on our health, but we are all called to follow Jesus for all of life.

I came across another excellent piece on this theme that I’m pleased to share with you below, written by Rev. Carmen Kampman, who is the founder of LEAD Women Ministries and an Associate Pastor at Westside Pentecostal Church. This is a revised version of her original article, used with permission.

Thanks, but I’m not passing my baton—
I’ll carry it

by Carmen Kampman

For years now I have struggled with hearing statements like, “The older generation should pass the baton to the younger generation,” or “I see a generation rising to take their place.”

Some might argue that there is nothing wrong with these statements, but I think there is: God never asks us to stop running our race! And when we use the phrase “pass your baton” to imply that somehow God is finished with using us, we do a disservice to each other.

I’m not done running my race and neither are you,
so carry your baton and run your race!

So what if we shelved the “pass the baton” language and instead started to align together where we can?  To run with each other where we can? To champion the picking up of another’s baton where we can? To serve together where we can? To distribute levels of responsibility where we can? To create space for others where we can?

We can do that!

But we should never stop living for Jesus and saying “yes” to the things we’ve been called to do.

We should never stop living for Jesus and
saying “yes” to the things we’ve been called to do.

Last year I had the opportunity to speak at a faith conference, and had the privilege of sharing the stage with women such as Sheila WalshTressa Lemky, and Moira Brown. And you know what I gleaned from observing them, praying with them, and laughing with them? I learned this: They are carrying their baton until Jesus takes them home!

You see I think your baton is your call to follow Jesus and to let your good deeds show so others may come to know Jesus. There are purposes and plans for your life that Jesus has prepared in advance for you to do—that’s your baton.

So let me plead with you to recognize that your life is worth living!  I implore you to own the truth that your journey matters. I invite you to live deliberately by committing yourself to stewarding wisely the opportunities you’re given. You need to engage in living as long as you’re living!

I felt nervous, excited, and empowered to speak at that conference. The Spirit affirmed over and over that my journey is only beginning. And for those wondering how old I am, I’m now 49, and as I’ve often shared with others, I feel the best years of my life are yet to come.

I’m not done running my race and neither are you,
so carry your baton and run your race!

The Reverend Carmen Kampman is ordained with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and is a steward of God’s call to women in ministry. She is the Founder of LEAD Women Ministries, a ministry dedicated to Empowering Christian Women to Lead with Confidence, an Associate Pastor at Westside Pentecostal Church, and a 2019 graduate of the Master of Arts Leadership & Management from Briercrest Seminary.

For more encouragement and resources on doing ministry better:

Author: April Yamasaki

I currently serve as resident author with a liturgical worship community, write online and in print publications, and often speak in churches and other settings. Publications include On the Way with Jesus, Four Gifts, Sacred Pauses, and other books on Christian living. Websites: AprilYamasaki.com and WhenYouWorkfortheChurch.com.

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