I haven’t always appreciated the need for dating things.
For instance, I know that biblical principles are timeless. If they’re valid in one period or culture, they are true for all times and cultures. But some things are true, and they are bound to the context of time.
Think about it in the grocery store. We appreciate a date on the milk carton and the loaf of bread we’ll take home. I can review that date and quickly discern the product’s shelf life.
But did you know everything has a shelf life? That includes every person too. Every individual has an expiration date. My body will have expired when I take my final breath, and my heart has no more beats left. A medical professional will provide a time of death, and the coroner will agree.
As surely as I have a birth date, I will have a death date one day. That time of expiration is unknown to me. Date codes are hidden on many manufactured products, but I don’t have a hidden stamp in an obscure place on my body that tells me when my time is finished. Only my Creator knows, and I’m good with that.
Think about expiration dates differently. Did you know that every godly leader has an expiration date? God calls specific people into specific roles at specific places for seasons. Yes. Some seasons are much longer than others.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us,
“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven.”
When I look in the rearview mirror of my life, I can see how God set me up and then pushed me onward from one season to the next. One of my seasons was seven years long, another season was twelve years long, and I even had some shorter seasons than these.
In each season, I hold the power of stewardship. I’m responsible for making the best use of my gifts and talents. I must grow in them and inspire growth in others as a change agent for the Kingdom of God.
So, to all my friends and readers in various assignments of church leadership, I trust you’ll receive this reminder. You have a shelf life. Eventually, you won’t be in that office or have that position. Your title could change before the year is out. We serve at the disposal of Christ our King. And the Kingdom is His to rule and reign.
Does this mean we don’t put down roots? Nope. We should settle into the God-called assignment with each season and location as though we’re here indefinitely. But remember that our goal is contentment, not complacency.
We need to make solid and mature decisions that we can live with a decade or two down the road. And we want our decision-making to be based on the timeless principles of God’s Word, so the person who follows us is glad.
I’m following my own counsel, and I pray this season lasts until I relocate to my eternal home where expiration dates don’t exist. I’ve already picked out an earthly burial plot for someone to place my then expired body. I’ll have a new body where the soul never dies.
I’ll end with another reminder from Ecclesiastes 3:11.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
Friend, cooperate with God’s timing and let Him make this a beautiful season for you.