Old Man, Young Preacher
When you look at me through the world’s lens, it looks as though I have lived. My talents, education and personality were exposed to opportunities I never dreamed I would experience. I’ve travelled the world coach and first class. Stood on trains and landed on aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean. I’ve driven luxury cars, hatchbacks and SUVs. I’ve closed my eyes in the plush comfort of five-star hotels and ate exotic food with international celebrities. I’ve walked red carpets in Hollywood and sauntered through the stench of Skid Row. I’ve loved hard and lost even harder. I’ve played state-of-art keyboards in front of thousands and stomped on dirt floors as I played upright piano in a rural Georgia church. I’ve had dinner with Miss USA and got manicures with my daughter. I went from walking 5Ks to jogging color runs to trotting along a half-marathon. On the outside, it appears I have truly lived.
When you look at me through the spiritual lens, it was all an elaborate attempt to outrun God. Twenty years of experiences, triumphs and tragedies as my Heavenly Father laughed hysterically at my strategy to live an extraordinary life on the wrong side of the pulpit.
It wasn’t until I stopped running from God, started listening to God and began living for God — that I truly began to live.
I grew up in church. I spent decades behind an organ/piano/keyboard playing for various churches. I leveraged the Word of God from a psalmists perspective; but I was called to preach His message of hope. I am a communications scholar. I spent years developing and delivering corporate presentations from Coca-Cola to Hewlett Packard. I leveraged my written and verbal skills from a business executive’s perspective; but I was called to spread the gospel.
My contemporaries don’t share my background. Most preachers my age have been sharing the good news for nearly 20 years; while my peers in ministry stand at the cusp of discovering themselves in Christ as young men in their 20s. We share the passion for preaching; yet my environment often makes me feel like a young preacher living alongside an old man’s timeline.
I’m thankful that God preserved me in a way that I don’t look like what I’ve been through. However, I thank God he gives me wisdom to use what I’ve been through to seek him more diligently, share more vigorously and help others with more sincerity. Sometimes I feel I’ve wasted so much time, but God continues to leverage my life experiences from a spiritual perspective; because I am called to preach.
I may not hoop like a traditional Baptist preacher. I may not shine with the luster of impressionable youth. But the good news is no one can outdo me being “me” and I praise God for allowing me to grow into an old(er) man with the enthusiasm of a young preacher.