Fade, Cut, That’s a Wrap, Again…

(Updated and re-posted from 2014)

Sometimes you simply feel like your “time”  is over…

Thats a wrapIn the work world it is often called the “short timers” syndrome. You know, you are leaving, a date is set and you just don’t really care about all that’s happening around you. School could be the Seniors syndrome where you either care too much, or too little, about those last days before graduation. I suspect every failing relationship feels this coming on.

One of the things I’ve noted, I often feel sooner than anyone around me when my usefulness is over.

And that lack of usefulness is probably what makes one feel like their “time” is over…

It’s not that you cannot get back into the foray of life, but you sense that your energy level has peaked. Maybe a simple vacation fixes the feelings, or maybe a few more “atta boys!” will ramp you back into feeling needed.

Sometimes it’s our own emotions that get in the way. We may not deal with stress very well, and we personalize so much of what’s happening. A financial adviser tweeted something this morning;

You cannot change people. They alone change themselves.

Someone I know hung up their ministry role this past month, no longer feeling useful in this crazy world we minister to. A friend’s mom passed away over the night. Childhood memories will mean more to me as I remember her as a kind and sweetheart type of personality. A football player announced his retirement today:

“My love for the game isn’t strong enough to make up for missing one more birthday or first day of school”, said James Harrison as he hangs up his career.

While it is true that endings come to us all, I weep for all of those who have given up too soon. Maybe the goal is in sight, or maybe just around the bend, but disappointments and frustrations create more mountains than molehills.

The Apostle Paul spoke about Demas leaving him, and it was while he was in prison and Christian persecution was high. We do not know the circumstances, nor do I want to read too much into this, but something pulled Demas away from his prior commitment (Colossians 4:14). It’s almost like he threw in the towel, and cared more for his life in this present world than enduring the suffering leading to the world to come.

“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;” 2 Timothy 4:10

Have we ever felt like the race was not something we wanted to contend with?

Sure. We all have felt like giving up on something. I hear church planters often speak of the duress of starting a new work, just as much as I hear established pastors struggling with the load of their successful churches. Marriages often break up because someone quits caring enough to make a difference. Jobs. Relationships. Parenthood. Finances. Too frequently we watch those walk away from God, and wonder if we could have done more.

We all carry loads that are sometimes harder to bear than we imagine when we started down a certain path.

But there is a solution…
Simply keep on carrying what you’re supposed to carry,
and drop that weight that does nothing good for you!

Essentially, for everyone that fails to follow through, there are dozens who make it all the way! Someone has learned how to hold on only to that which is good and necessary, and letting loose of that which is wasteful.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)

As a young teen I remember a choir song we sang in Channelview.

One More River To Cross
Verse: 1
I’ve had a lot troubles and trials in my little life span,
When I’m standing alone and the battle gets hot, always doing the best I can,
I crossed a lot of high mountains, shed a million tears,
But when I come to the river Jordan hallelujah,
Then I’ll have no fears, then I’ll have no fears.
One more river to cross, one more mountain to climb,
One more valley that I got to go through leaving my troubles behind,
One more battle with the devil and I know he’ll understand,
I’m going through with Jesus hallelujah,
Holding to his nail scarred hand, holding to his nail scarred hand.
I’ve had a lot of people talk about me, since I’ve walked this narrow way,
It’s just another little valley, I’ll come through it when I pray,
I’ve climbed a lot of high mountains, crossed a lot of little streams,
But when I see old Jordan cold and dark it’ll be the last for me,
It’ll be the last for me.

I guess my thought is, don’t give up too soon. Don’t give up until you have given it your all, and then some more. Re-balance your load. Carry only what is necessary. Give away that which is not productive. Let someone else take ownership of that stress you worry yourself silly about!

When the time comes for that “walk away” then you will know the timing is right, because you have given your all. Two friends told me something several years ago about retirement… “At some time you will have to turn your blinker on, indicating your intention.” Hmmm… Good future thought!

W-R-A-P is often thought of as an acronym meaning that the shooting of the film is over, so it’s time to “Wind. Reel. And Print”

The race is not over yet…Do not quit too soon!

There is a local radio talk show host and when I listen to the closing minutes of his broadcast, his medley of sounds includes this voice saying something like this;

“Fade. Cut. That’s a Wrap. You’ve been a really terrific audience.”