“Fulfilling God’s Plan for Our Aging Years”
Episode 40: Humility in Life and Aging
The idea situation for those of us who are aging is that as we get older we become wiser and more experienced. Therefore, it should produce humility in us. Does it though? In this episode, Hal and Randy will discuss what humility looks like in our later years.
Randy Hess: 0:09
Hi, everyone. Welcome back to finishing well podcast podcast for finishing while ministries. Finishing while ministries welcomes you if you're 65 or older as part of our core audience, but we also welcome you, if you're 65 and under, and we we simply hope and encourage, and pray that our message will help each of you listen and think about finishing your life. Well. I'm here today with how habecker, the founder finishing wall ministries, and I'm very, very pleased to be here. We we go back quite a ways. And we started this ministry in 2015. So we're just trucking along right now. Good morning.
Hal Habecker: 0:58
We are Randy. And you know, just in our conversation back and forth it. This is a picture of what we hope, the impact of finishing well Ministries is in your life, and the life of others, we envision hundreds and 1000s of conversations going on, as we as aging people, talk with each other, and encourage each other and exhort each other about all the issues in life. You know, as we age, I mean, it's critically important that these kinds of conversations happen in the church, outside of the church, in our families, in our marriages, wherever we are, and let's keep encouraging each other isn't that the mission of finishing a ministry is surely is to fulfill God's plan in our aging years, and it happens out of conversation. I can't say enough, Randy, how much the conversations that you and I have had Berg, ever since you joined our church when I was your pastor. I mean, we've had countless conversations and you have sharpened me. And hopefully I've been an encouragement
Randy Hess: 2:06
to you. Oh my gosh, yes, you have? Well,
Hal Habecker: 2:09
today I want to talk about a topic which I hope starts your brain in our in our listeners out there and starts thinking continues your thinking because undoubtably I'm we're not the first ones to talk about these issues. But I want to bring this one up today. It is the topic of humility, in life and in aging.
Randy Hess: 2:35
Hal Habecker: 2:37
you know, a couple of things just off the top of my head. Our culture does not teach you military. I mean, in general, I mean, I think of our kids, you know, you want your kids to succeed, you want them to do their best, you can do anything in this life. You know, you can be the president united states, you can make the best I mean, right on, we want you to make great grades. And for some reason, you know, that kind of incentive thinking does not necessarily cultivate an attitude of humility. Now against that backdrop, and by the way, that's true of all of us. I mean, you want to succeed in your job, you want to succeed in your marriage, you you want to be the best that what you can be. Now against that backdrop, I meet Jesus. And here's what I learned about Jesus in Matthew 11, verses 2829 and 30. I learned something about Jesus that I don't learn about him anywhere else. He says in that verse, come on, to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. You know, there's a certain restlessness and achieving in life. So if you have hardship, you're weary and heavy laden, Come unto me, I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart. It's that phrase that has gripped my thinking, for many decades now. It's the only time in the Gospels where Jesus describes his heart. In this term. He says, I am gentle and humble in heart. You know, the thing that's just bottom line on that, it's not about me.
Randy Hess: 4:34
It's about you.
Hal Habecker: 4:35
It's about serving my father, as Jesus would say. It's not about me going up the line. It's not about me making more money. It's not about me getting a better degree. It's not about me, me, me, me. Now, you may do those things. You know, Jesus says in Matthew 20 Later on, if you want to be the first you must first be a servant. You need to take on this mindset. have humility in serving others and serving God that is your reason for existence as a Christian. It is God's glory that's at stake, not mine. Yeah, I think of First Corinthians 1031, where Paul says whether you eat, drink or whatever you do, do it to the glory of God. So in my mindset, I am dependent. dependency is right besides humility, you know, I'm dependent on God for everything. It's not me. Jesus illustrates this through his life, I think one of the most powerful experience situations in which he models this is the washing of feet. And John 13. I won't read the whole text, but, you know, Jesus says, knowing that it is our had come, he loved his own to the end. Now think about that. He loved his own to the end, to the end of his life. He was willing to serve them. And how does he demonstrate this? The text says he rose from supper, laid aside His garments and took a towel and angered himself, poured water into a base and began to wash the disciples feet and wipe them with a towel with which he was girded. I know of no greater example of servanthood and humility than Jesus taking that position. Several decades ago, I had the privilege of being in Calcutta, India. And I visited Mother Teresa's VOICE OF HOPE hospital. I'll never forget it as long as I live. I mean, here's Mother Teresa, one of the most humble people, she comes to the National Prayer Breakfast barefooted. To illustrate her humility. She cares for the most broken people in her society. There was nothing in it for her in that sense of achievement. But she was willing to be broken, be a servant, and wash the feet of those little children who had all kinds of challenges and hardships. And that's what her hospital is all about. It's only natural as we read on in the story, theater, they gotta you can't wash my feet. Jesus, I you know, my image of you is my Lord and my Savior, my master, I'm the one that needs to be washed your feet. But he never thought about it. None of the disciples ever thought about it that night. They were in a rented room and nobody thought about serving others or washing feet of Jesus. And then Jesus says these penetrating words to Peter, I, if I do not wash you, you have no part with Me. Now that's radical. I think what Jesus is saying that if you don't have an attitude of humility, if you don't have an attitude of being a servant, and being willing to wash other's feet, in your service, serving and in your achieving, and in your living of life, you don't have any part of me. You don't know me, Peter, because I came Mark 1045 I'm not come to be served, but to serve and to give my life a ransom for many that illustrates or reflects a heart of gratitude. I would offer one more thought on this just to get our thinking out on the table. I've always loved CS Lewis's thought on humility, he says, Not thinking less of yourself. But thinking of yourself less. To be humble, impart doesn't humble hard doesn't mean oh, I'm nothing. I'm just just just nothing. I don't count for anything. It's not that it's, it's thinking of yourself less. God put me here for a purpose. And I'm here to serve Him and serve others through the gifts he has given me. And it's really about him. You know, it's the shorter catechism confession, man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. It's all about him. It's not about me, it's not about my degrees. It's not about my happiness. It's not about my position. In fact, Paul says in first Corinthians four, seven, for who regard you as superior, what do you have that you have received? If you've received it, why do you act as if it's not if it's yours? So these things on humility, I think really gripped my heart. And I think they should grip the heart of everyone who's serious about following Jesus. How do you order your life under him? And how do you use your skills to serve others in the midst of his calling on your life?
Randy Hess: 9:47
You know, it's a critical, critical concept to follow and to know where your heart is on this. And is so I will argue How that for people perhaps younger than 65, those in the, in their 20s 30s 40s 50s that are in the culture in either their work or they're just in their lives in general, but my experience with culture and work in any number of corporate environments that I had the privilege of being involved in, in one way or another, taught me that there are shown me, I'll just say that there was there was no feet with feet washing going on, at all. in those in those places, literally, or figuratively. It was quite the opposite. Or that, that, that people were taught and people learned is that showing humility, how to many showed weakness, and weakness, showed you the door, you got trampled over by others and kicked out. So being in any way humble about who you were, what you brought to the table, how you conducted your life was foreign to people in those roles. And so when you learned and talked, and thought about, you know, I'd like to learn leadership, I'd like to become a leader I'd like to, as I grow older in my life, I'd like to be able to climb the ladder a little bit and and, and progress and build my career and do something more that the answer to that for for many people, how is never to show humility, only to show whether it's whether it's sincere not only to show a just regard for anything that could be considered caring. And so a lot of regard for myself, to promote myself to, to make sure that I'm first in line to make sure that I'm the one everybody notices. So it's a dilemma, if I could call it that, for our current culture, in the United States, and in our business world, to be able to deal with this concept is just not well received. If it is well received, because they know in their hearts, that it is the only answer to my overall life is not paid attention to when the rubber hits the road. For those over 65, I would suggest that it's also still in many people's lives a challenge. And that's just my experience. I think there are plenty of opportunities out there for people to show grace to others and show humility in doing so. But they pass them by unfortunately. So I believe that part of finishing well, that is a challenge for people is this concept.
Hal Habecker: 13:30
Some practical thoughts that come to me if I if I have an attitude of humility, I learn to value others. Let me give you two things that that means if you're going to value others, you encourage them. Mmm hmm. You don't preach to them. You're not in control of them. But you encourage them or you praise them. You take time with them. You listen to them. You I think about that. We're here in the Hope Center. Here in Plano, Texas, just outside of Dallas. You know, I've worked with several other people have beer in my corner. It's called the roof center. So I asked myself, well, how much time do I spend calling people by name listening to them listening to their stories, asking them questions? Or do I come in and just put my head down? This is my ministry. This is what I do. You know, you can do that, as a pastor, you can do that. You know, your life is about you. It's not about paying attention to others. But I think being a servant and having an attitude of humility means that you understand how others make a difference in your life and you value them, which is exactly what Jesus did when he called the 12 to follow him and invested in them His kingdom. Yes, he had a role to play. He initiate he's our Savior. He's our Lord, but he did it by being a servant. So I'm here to Love others, I'm here to serve them, I'm not here to get my own way, I'm not here to control others, you know how many of us want to control our kids responses and what they do? You know, we may say, Well, I wouldn't do that, if I were them, I wish they could wake up maybe and see the world as I do. But you can't say that. Because you're here to encourage them and bless them and strengthen them,
Randy Hess: 15:23
you know, our fourth essential How is to invest in others. And that means what you just said, finding a way to encourage to lift them up. When I got a group of younger guys together with older guys 65 and older, one of the challenges we faced was the older guys sometimes want to tell younger ones, what they should, what they're missing, and what they should be doing. And you and I would argue, you're not going to get there that way, in your relationship. What they need the most is for you to listen, and encourage. But without humility, it's hard to back off and say, let me figure out what this friend is younger friend, older friend, and work with them, but help them not dictate
Hal Habecker: 16:25
a couple of things I want to think about with you on this subject. Uh, you know, our physical challenges are a reminder of humility. You know, I learned to submit to and live with in the frame of my physical limitations. You know, some of that, for example, I've had a foot issue this year, had surgery on it, I am learning to live within the limitations of my foot, the pain that I've had, the rehab that I have the problems that that has caused me your physical limitations, and even the just the limitation of aging slowing down, I can't run as fast as I used to, I can't ride my bicycle as fast as I used to, I can't do a lot of things that I used to do, and whether or not or how that affects me is very powerful. You know, if I accept that as part of God's presence in my life, it kind of measures my self importance. I can't go around and do everything I used to, in fact, ball said, when I am weak, then I am strong. You know, when things happen, that we don't like you, I think of John 15, five, where Jesus said, Without me, you can do nothing. Well, as I age, I understand a new light. Because I can't do what I wanted to do, unless Jesus works to my life in some way. Exactly. So my attitude changes.
Randy Hess: 18:01
Hal Habecker: 18:03
A couple of things that have really been helpful for me, I'm going to just throw them out in the table. Henry now in his written a book called in the name of Jesus reflections on Christian leadership. It is one of the best leadership books that I know of, because it addresses leadership in a context of humility, where now I lived in a community in Toronto, of learning challenged adults. And he takes this one with Him, as you know, this speaking trip he had, and he learns more through his challenge friend, than anything else in his life. And he writes this book out of that. And then the second book I've this is a long written a long time ago, weak enough for God to use. It's written by a an Episcopal leader in England called Dennis Lennon, and he is with the Lord now. But this book, I've read it I think, 25 years ago, it changed my whole thinking about weakness and humility, and who God is and how he works in our lives. And he calls us to a deeper, deeper dependence on him. And humility and dependence are two words that I think are almost interchangeable in some ways. So I think of these things that God has used to shape my life and develop my own thinking in terms of humility and serving Jesus. Anything that you can think of Randy, you want to add to this? I mean, what has God done in your life to shape this attitude of humility?
Randy Hess: 19:41
Well, I think I mentioned cancers. A big lesson for my life in terms of just the way the Lord can, can work with you, even in the middle of the midst of the desert. can give you a whole new perspective on why you went through that desert. And while you were allowed to come out of it. I think without those, those kinds of challenges in your life, maybe we would sometimes call those trials. Without a trial in your life, we do tend to skip along through the tulips out, thinking that I've got it. You know, yeah, I believe the Lord's out there, but he's just my co pilot, and I use him once in a while, but I've got the plane, I'm flying this thing. I'm flying this thing called my life. And I'm doing pretty good job attitude. And then when, when something changes along the way, it doesn't change, the same year, the same era, the same kind of change for people. But when something changes, that becomes a real trial. And in many, many instances, a, a difficult trial to actually get through. It changes some, in some ways, how, I believe the arrogant perspective that many of us have had, that we are capable, that we're independent people, as you mentioned, and we can we can be continued to be independent, and not depend on anybody or anything. And, and, and always, always solve it, I always get it, I always do it. It changes that attitude completely. And I think that as a senior person out there, more than likely, you've been through those things, or at least one of them all of you out there. And you know what I'm talking about it, it allows you to have a new perspective. You say, Why, Lord, did I? Why am I in this desert? Why have I had to go through this desert? Why am I still in this desert? It gives you that new perspective that you didn't have before? That it really is all part of God's plan. For me,
Hal Habecker: 22:11
really is I want to add one final thought that we need to wrap this up. You know, we talked in our earlier podcast about Thanksgiving and how you live your life. You know, one of the things about humility is how willing are you to talk about your failures. You know, I'm when you have conversations with other people with your kids, your grandkids, you know, I think being able to share with others where I failed, and where I desperately needed God to come to my rescue because of my failure. Those are critical, critically important times in a man and a woman's life and a dad or a mother, you know, and be able to share that with others. In a humble way. I mean, I don't have all the answers. Anyways, this is a challenging conversation as so many facets, so many rabbit trails you can run down, but I'm grateful for you interacting with me on this topic, Randy on humility.
Randy Hess: 23:07
Thank you how and I'm grateful for you everyday.
Hal Habecker: 23:11
Well, and we're grateful for you out there and our list our listeners, we hope we're being an encouragement to you. If you have opportunities to interact with us, we'd love to hear from you. How these podcasts have encouraged you what they've meant to you and you have an idea for something we want to we should press on and bring to the table here in our discussions send it our way but we love you and we pray for you. And thanks for being a part of our ministry you can find all of our podcasts I think we're about 40 now on finishing well ministries dot o RG forward slash podcast and let's pray for each other. Let's keep encouraging each other and fulfilling God's plan for our aging years. May God bless you and strengthen you this day. In Jesus name, amen. Amen.