The General Takes Out the Garbage

Every breath between birth and the grave is a gift of the Lord.

Once a fellow told me of a retired friend of his who had once been a four-star general in the French army.

“I used to command 50,000 men, the retired soldier told him. Now my wife tells me to take out the garbage.”

Life is funny like that. Today’s general is tomorrow’s grandpa, remembering past glories, while younger men grapple for the post of power he once held.

The longer you’re in life, the more you realize that your relationship to others change. Life changes and you pass different stages. Once you told your kids what to do and they hopped to it (in theory anyway).

Then they grew up and if daddy tried to command, it was resented. Father had to realize that his position had changed. He still has an important part in their lives but it’s not directing anymore.

Little note to you fathers and mothers. Be good to those kids. One day they are the ones who will decide when you go into the old folks home—or maybe change your pampers.

Each stage of life is important and we have an important role to play for others. Lots of grandmas and grandpas frenetically search for creams or operations which will give them back their youthful beauty.

My friend, you’re bailing water out of the ocean. The older you get it’s more damage control than anything else. Maybe we should learn to be productive grandmas and grandpas instead of wanting to be teenagers again.

One of the real keys of life is to learn to be productive and effective at whatever stage you are. Jeremiah was effective as a very young prophet. Caleb proved he was still a powerful warrior when he was an old man.

God needs effective people at the stage of life you’re in. If you quit dreaming you’re dead. If you quit trusting God to use you, you’re powerless. But, if you’ll keep dreaming and keep trusting, you’ll be effective whether you’re 16 or 86.

Maybe you no longer command 50,000 men but that doesn’t mean that this part of your life is nothing compared to your past. Learn to be effective in the stage of life where you are. You may not be the leader anymore but you can help young leaders, encourage them, advise them.

And if they decide not to take your advice? I imagine there were a few times you didn’t take advice, weren’t there? That doesn’t make it worthless.

We need to quit pining for another time—“when I’m older I’ll …” or “when I was young, I …” Make today count. Every breath between birth and the grave is a gift of the Lord. Serve Him all the way to the finish line.

“I once was young, now I’m a graybeard— not once have I seen an abandoned believer, or his kids out roaming the streets. Every day he’s out giving and lending, his children making him proud. (Ps. 37: 25-26, The Message)

Are you living in the past or the future? Just get out there and give and lend TODAY. God’s got plans for you at this stage in your life.
Hmmm …
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. If they get mad, you’re a mile away AND you have their shoes. Anonymous

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