“Fulfilling God’s Plan for Our Aging Years”
Episode 7: Be Available
Being available doesn't always mean having a clear space in your calendar. God doesn't really pay attention to your schedule and we must learn to be ready to respond when He calls us to opportunities for ministry. Those of us who have retired must learn that we never retire from God's service and purpose!
Dr Randy Hess: 0:08
Hello, everyone. Welcome to finishing well ministries podcast, which is targeted to seniors. And our objective is to help seniors finish their lives well and follow God's plan for their aging years. I'm with Howie Harberger. My name is Randy Hess. And how founded finishing well ministries, and 2015. And we are here to talk today about another component of finishing Well, good morning, how? Morning, Randy,
Dr Hal Habecker: 0:49
it's great to see you and hear you and engage with our listeners today. Our first one of 2021. It's a beautiful day. It is. And I love being here with you. And I love thinking about our listeners out there and encouraging all of us, starting with each other here and getting on with God's business for our lives, fulfilling his plan for our aging years.
It sounds like a good subject.
Dr Hal Habecker: 1:20
Well, let's get into it. You know, we've been reviewing our six essentials. Yep, quickly continuing to grow, connect care invest. Today is our fifth one. It has to do with being available for God's purposes in our lives. So you asked the question, what is God up to? He knows tomorrow? I don't. And he has an agenda for me. And it's going to involve new things. New people, I think about that my own life, how many people have I learned to know last year and 2020 that I did not know and did not expect to learn about but God brought people and opportunities into my life. This podcast is a new venture in that sense. And we're available. And the Spirit is leading us guiding us Psalm 118 24. This is the day the Lord has made Let us rejoice and be glad and it's a new day. And I can give all kinds of biblical examples. But our main idea is God works wants to work through our availability, someone has said it's not your abilities. He's as concerned about as he is your availability to him moving and working in your life, perhaps in new ways. That's the theme. Randy, right. Yes, it is. It is. And
Dr Randy Hess: 2:50
there's quite a bit of support. I think for the idea of finishing well, in this concept you're using today how and available can mean a lot of things. So let's talk about what being available is you mentioned it being I think you mentioned the podcast itself as a sense of being available in your life in my
life. And I interpret that personally as just
Dr Randy Hess: 3:22
as we're both senior category type, guys. But we are open to the idea that there's something out there we can use or thought we could use hope we can use and pray that we can use to get our message out and have other people digest it and think about it for themselves. And this, this podcast became one of those. So part of being available to me
is an open mind to
Dr Randy Hess: 3:55
and not closing off those things that the Lord puts in front of us ideas available. approaches, possible new doors opening. Am I Am I on the right track there?
Dr Hal Habecker: 4:10
Yeah, I think you are ready. being available does not mean you close yourself off to all the basics that God is wanting us to do every day with keeping up with our lives, our disciplines, or our relationships or our marriages, our families, our core friends, you do all of that. But the story of the Good Samaritan really pinpoints this for me, you know, the Good Samaritan was going to work that day. And he had no idea that there was an interruption that God had planned for him and Jesus used that story. And it changed his life that day. You know, he runs into this man who was beaten and robbed and left for dead. And so you say, Well, what do you do with that? You know, I had plans I've got to be a Jericho at such and such a time. Well, if I stop to help this guy, everything gets derailed, everything gets changed. Well really does it mean you submit yourself to God and he puts something in your life. And it really becomes an enriching kind of experience. And that good Samaritan was better off, and so was the victim because of his willingness to be available to God for something in his life. And I don't know that God does that every day in our lives. I mean, you have your schedules, and you want to stick to him, and you have a sense of what God wants you to do. But beyond that, I think God has ideas in his head to lead me to continue to use me in new and fresh ways that I have never thought about. In other words, he continues to help me grow through these things he sees and plans in our lives. And to me, it's critical that we have that kind of openness, to listen to the voice of God to listen to those around us listen to new people, new ideas, and allow the Spirit of God to lead lead us. Does that make sense?
Dr Randy Hess: 6:04
Yes, that's pretty hard to grow. If you aren't doing that, I, if I if I closed myself off, to listening to being open. It's a tough road to go down. To think I'm going to grow in some capacity, or almost in any capacity, I would think,
Dr Hal Habecker: 6:24
you know, I, I'm the bibble assist. I've been a pastor, I teach the scriptures. You know, when Jesus called His disciples, He said, Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. Well, they knew about fishing, but they didn't know anything about fishing for men. Right? So you think of all the new things that Jesus taught the 12 during his two and a half years with them. I mean, and they pay to learn to be available to God and see the world through new eyes new, a new perspective through the eyes of Jesus. And He led them through these days, weeks, months, years. And they learned a little bit about seeing life from an eternal perspective, which made them available to things that they had never dreamt of.
Dr Randy Hess: 7:13
you know, all those who answer the calling, have made themselves tremendously available. How including you. I mean, you made yourself available. And anyone in leading a church in the church in the ministry,
as I think,
Dr Randy Hess: 7:35
gotten the word that I had to make myself available, and I have, I've answered that, because if I wasn't available, I would not, I wouldn't have heard that calling. I wouldn't have heard what God really wants for me.
Dr Hal Habecker: 7:50
You wouldn't be a part of this ministry if you were not available. Yep. And it's just I think it's an all kinds of facets, all kinds of ways. You meet new people church and a meet new people in your life. You run into I had an instance, there was a group I led on the six essentials last fall at First Baptist Church. And one of the guys in our group was late one morning. And we asked him when he got there an hour later. Why are you late? He says, Well, I have a had a wreck. And he met this guy with whom he had this wreck. And this guy was a fellow believer searching for God's will in his life. Long story short, my friend brings this new guy to our meeting the next week, and he becomes part of our six essentials finishing group. It was just crazy. I mean, how God orchestrates life in ways you would never expect sometimes.
Dr Randy Hess: 8:46
That's that's that's a nice story how that's very interesting. It but it is about a mindset, isn't it? It's about our minds, and how in our ag years, we are either closing them off and narrowing things down. Or we're keeping them open to the possibility of a new opportunity am I am I thinking right here?
Dr Hal Habecker: 9:13
I think you are you use an expression to me Randy about being open and availability means you're willing to listen Yeah, you know to an agenda other than you have for yourself like the Good Samaritan. He listened to the the need of that stricken, robbed man. So you think about this, do I listen to my wife? Do I listen to my kids? Do I listen to my grandkids? Am I listening to my friends because I may pick up some things that I would not have thought about if I
weren't listening. Yep. Yep. Yeah. And what kind
Dr Randy Hess: 9:51
of heart Am I listening with in that regard? Am I listening to actually be encouraging to see Someone or my listening to lecture them or put them down or tell them what they're doing wrong, which which kind of listening am I doing? That's important too, I think. I think we as seniors kind of feel like we've been through more than one rodeo, we've been through more than two, we've been through maybe a few more. And that gives us a status level to comment and to criticize all those younger people who come in front of us, and maybe even some of our own family, and just tell them what they're doing wrong and what they should start doing. Right. And they, they, they maybe put up with that once or twice. And then I think there's a tendency for them to drift away from me as an advisor, that I'm tired of, you know, grandpa's advice, where he's really just judging me and putting me down.
So I think, for me, personally,
Dr Randy Hess: 11:06
I think there's a constant need to assess. Am I Am I listening to someone in my even in my own family, or certainly a friend,
Dr Randy Hess: 11:20
someone who approaches me about something? Am I listening with the idea of having being a true helper and possible supporter rather than a true critic of them? Does that make sense?
Dr Hal Habecker: 11:39
makes all the sense in the world to me, Randy, you know, let me just bring in a we're doing this in January, I discovered I didn't know this January is Mentoring Month on the national saying, there is a mentoring organization founded in 2012. And their purpose is to help older people be mentors, to younger people all across the board, which I think is absolutely wonderful. So am I open to listening to younger people, to love them, to encourage them following your thought, Randy, as opposed to being a critic of them, you know, God wants to use younger people in my life to teach me new things. And he puts them there for me to love and encourage, like my own kids, and younger people in our church. And I think it's one of the main missions for older people, we ought to be the best encouragers of the next generations following us, that we could possibly be, to listen to them, to hold up their arms, to pray for them, to encourage them to be available to them for what they need in life.
And my own
Dr Randy Hess: 12:47
family, my wife amazes me with how available she is to our grandchildren. And I'll just say this, that I know, as the grandchildren grew and got into their teen years, the reason many, many times they wanted to come especially granddaughters to our house, for a day or for some event is to be able to visit with my wife, maybe cook something together in the kitchen, that sort of thing. But but in trying to get deeper into why I found out that what they did is they considered our place, a safe spot where they would not be judged and not be criticized that they would just be listened to. And I was just kind of amazed that that's, I guess, I'm not amazed at my wife, but I'm just amazed that our the way the grandkids, look at that sort of thing. And I'm not putting us up on some pedestal as a way to do things, believe me, I'm not. But I have noticed that if if we approach our openness, how if we approach our availability
as a blessing. As a delight,
Dr Randy Hess: 14:10
we're going to approach it differently than if we approach it as Oh, here they come again, I got to put up with this kind of thing.
Dr Hal Habecker: 14:19
Randy, I want to give an illustration before we finish today, that really helped put this in perspective to me, I read a book two years ago. It's called from Eden to paradise. It's the story of John Stuart Gilbert, who at the age of five contracted muscular do shins or Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and it's a disease that afflicts young boys, and you have about a 15 year lifespan. But anyways, this story from eating to Paradise is a story that John Stuart Gilbert wrote with a computer and two weeks before he Dad went to heaven, he asked his dad, would you publish the story for me? It's an amazing story of how this young Christian wrestled with this disease he had. And he tells a story in his story about a man who was available, and it just it. It has riveted me ever since I read it. John Stuart Gilbert was a poster child for Muscular Dystrophy in California. And he was in Sacramento at a fundraising event for Muscular Dystrophy. And at this fundraising event, they had a lot of athletic paraphernalia and athletes, etc, etc. So they were had they had an auction to raise money. And they were auctioning off all these things, you know, autograph this and that, etc. And they had a basketball, which was autographed by all the Sacramento Kings, basketball team, players, coaches, staff. And nobody knew that John Stewart was a basketball fan. So the auctioneer starts raising this, he says, Well, let's start the auction start price at 500 hours. And John store it as a 12 year old kid was still able to raise his hand. So he raises his head. And he said, I never felt as many G forces as my mother's slapping my hand back down. It, she said we can't afford this. So then he says something unusual happen. The bidding of this basketball star going higher and higher and higher
and higher. And it came down to two men who were
Dr Hal Habecker: 16:31
various points in the room. And he doesn't say what the basketball sold for eventually, but it sold for some astronomical value. So the guy who was the winning bidder walked up to the lectern to receive the basketball. And when he received it, something very unusual happen. He turned on the other side of the room and walked over to John Stuart Gilbert, and put the basketball in his hands. And he said, This is for you. Now, I think about that, here's a business man, you talk about being available, it may not take as much time as you think and maybe just a moment in time. So this man happened to see Jon Stewart's hand go up, and he says, You know what, here's my, I've got the resources, I'm going to buy that basketball for that kid,
and show him I love them.
Dr Hal Habecker: 17:17
And that, to me, becomes a magnificent illustration, where you can be available in a moment in time over a few minutes. And it doesn't take a lot of time to be available. But there's an there needs that come up, that we can be available to meet and serve others, and how God has called us to live. Does that make sense?
It does. It does. You know?
Dr Randy Hess: 17:44
I have to I don't want to embarrass you at all how but I know how you have conducted yourself. I happen to be a member of the church that you pastored for 21 years. And I've seen you in action many times back in that era. And I remember one of them vividly. And that was you coming out of the front door of the church with someone on your arm, a gentleman who needed to be who needed just some growth needed some food from our food bank, our church Food Bank, and it was literally I would I would be willing to bet it was not more than two or three minutes prior to the service starting. And you're walking this gentleman and helping him around the edge of the church and to the food bank. All right, why I'm bringing that up? How
is that is representative
Dr Randy Hess: 18:44
in my mind of you paying attention to someone who needs help. That's all. And if we don't do that, we're not going to be finishing well in the sense that this particular availability that the availability means is that we are available to make a difference in my book, that's what it means to someone or some group. Whether they're connected directly to us or they're just random.
Just making a difference with them, lifting them up that day.
Dr Randy Hess: 19:28
So I'm going to add one word, I think you have to be receptive. If you're not receptive. If you're not receptive, you will not be able to listen well. And if you're not listening, well, you will probably not be able to catch a need in someone else because you're too caught up in your own world and your own, you know your own needs. Am I right?
Dr Hal Habecker: 19:53
I think you're right on Randy. Just has to do with your spiritual eyesight. What are you looking for? And are you looking for your own needs? Or are you looking to see what God wants to do in your own life through others around you? Starting right where you're at in your own home, or wherever you go, maybe it's a word of encouragement at the checker at the grocery store, or whoever it is, I want to be available and may be available being available for life change. You know, God does new things. I have a friend in Florida who has developed a whole online devotional ministry because she was available, and had a heart and soul God wanting to do things with her life, then it's changed a lot of people's lives. And it's just one illustration after another we could use.
Dr Randy Hess: 20:44
So true. So we're just I think, in a way, we're, we're asking, we're encouraging and we're maybe even pleading with people to consider in their, in their senior years,
how they are
Dr Randy Hess: 21:04
looking at themselves, how they're looking at others, and, and thinking about, are they open to those possible outside influences that might interfere with something, interrupt them? But are they also interested in and capable of, if you will, they're capable? Are they interested in following through and, and listening to people and then encouraging them? Am I correct?
Dr Hal Habecker: 21:33
You're correct. So correct, Randy. We mentioned John Stuart Gilbert. Let me close our podcast with another biblical illustration that gives this insight. You know, Saul was struck down in the road to Damascus, and acts nine. And then God said to Anand, is I want you to go meet this guy. And and I says, The God you don't know his reputation, he comes to kill people like me. God says to add it is I don't want you to think that way. I want you to go pray for him and help him. So I'm thinking as a pastor, I'm added is you know, I've got a busy spiritual agenda today. And all of a sudden, God says, hey, I want you to change your plans, and go meet the one who persecutes the church. And you say, oh, Harz, I can't do that. God says, we'll go do it. And Anand is was the first person to encourage saw later named Paul. And so you think about those little things about how God uses little things, and you need to be open and available to him to work his will out in your life. Why don't you wrap it up for us, Randy? And
Dr Randy Hess: 22:45
how i i really like as you can tell, I think this is a really important essential in the scheme of things.
So I'm really glad you included it. It's a bit of a hot button with me
Dr Randy Hess: 23:02
that we don't listen well and we don't pay attention to other people. I guess I'm going to just say that I hope those listening to us today. Hear us not trying to be not lecturing them, not scolding them, not saying you're not doing the right thing, just open your mind and eyes, your spiritual eyes, your your heart
to how you're
Dr Randy Hess: 23:32
currently making yourself available, how you're currently opening your head to listening to others and opening your mind. That's that's the simple question. And it's really up to you not up to us to do it. But God, God really wants us to do that doesn't ehow boy He
Dr Hal Habecker: 23:51
really does. So thanks for listening to us today. Randy, thanks for being part of this. Thanks for those of you listening. These are all posted on finishing well ministries dot o RG forward slash podcast. You can listen to him there, pass them on to your friends, and it's an honor to be a part of your life today. God bless you. And let's keep going keep being open to the Spirit of God. Have a great day.