James, head of Parks and Recreation for one of the largest cities in the country, felt a desire to do more for God. He was seeking a ministry but the church never caught on and simply put him on a committee. James is not unusual.
One recent trend is called “Halftime” named after the book by Bob Buford, describing people who desire to move from financial and career success to achieve goals more significant or spiritual. The issue is how will the church respond to potential halftimers? Will we help them develop a meaningful ministry or will we plug a hole and put them on a committee?
Here are a few half-timers I know:
- Al owns a successful insurance business but also leads a ministry team at his church and is actively involved with Salvation Army.
- Betsy retired as a school guidance counselor and now works for her church as a volunteer coordinator helping others become more involved in ministry.
- Polly retired from College Administration and joined mission work teams helping to rebuild houses in Mississippi or works in Pennsylvania filling care packages destined for Russia.
- Vance recently sold his communication business and is now using many of those same skills to help his church explore new ways of communicating the message of Jesus Christ.
Maybe you are beginning to see yourself as a potential half-timer. Something likely triggered this reaction such as success or failure in your career or divorce or the death of a parent or your now adult children leaving the nest. Maybe your life has been too calm and you are looking for opportunities for something more meaningful. Lloyd Reeb, of “From Success to Significance,” provides questions:
· I’ve been relatively successful. Is there more to life than my current situation?
· What do I consider eternally significant?
· What is my real purpose on earth? What would give my life more meaning?
· Was my first half experience a foundation for something more meaningful?
Let me introduce you to a half-timer in the Bible named Zacchaeus: “Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was one of the most influential Jews in the Roman tax-collecting business, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowds. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree beside the road, so he could watch from there.” (Luke 19:1-4)
Zacchaeus was one of the most hated and despised persons in all of Jerusalem. Why? Because Zacchaeus worked as a tax collector for the Roman authorities. In those days, tax collectors were crooks and traitors. Yet when Jesus saw Zacchaeus, He “called him by name. ‘Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! For I must be a guest in your home today.’” To everyone, including church folks, Zacchaeus was a no-good horrible thief, yet Jesus took the time to invite him to lunch. Why?
“Zacchaeus climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the crowds were displeased. ‘He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,’ they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’ Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a son of Abraham. And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost.’ (Luke 19:6-10)
Yes, Zacchaeus was a dishonest thief but he was ready to make serious changes. The church folks offered nothing but rejection and scorn. Jesus, however, sensing a changed heart offered the hand of fellowship and forgiveness. In response, Zacchaeus became a blessed child of God.
If you are considering making serious changes in your life. Remember, how Jesus called Zacchaeus by name and offered the hand of forgiveness and fellowship. Christ will do the same for you.