I’m turning 50.
50. When my Grandfathers were 50 I thought that was OLD. When my Dad was 50 I thought, it wasn’t all that old. Now that I am 50, I think, this isn’t really very old.
How did I get to be 50? I still see myself in my mid 20s. People look at me and usually think I’m in my late 30s or 40 tops. I’ve always looked young, yet my parents used to tell me that they thought I was born old. I was always trying to be a grown up. I got married at 20. If I could talk to my 20 year old self, I think I might tell him to slow down a little, not try too hard, be patient, take your time, don’t try to be old too soon. Yet the truth is that all the things I did along the way, all the things that have happened to me have brought me to where I am now. So, maybe I would tell my 20 year old self, “go for it, follow the Lord’s voice and trust him with the Future.” That’s really what I’ve tried to do all of my life.
I think of a lot of famous people who accomplished more and changed the world before they were 50. JFK had served in WW II, and been elected President, changing the world before his mid 40s. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had moved the world and set us all to dreaming before his life was taken at 39. Mozart had changed the world of music before his mid 30s. Mark Zuckerberg had changed the world before his mid 20s. Oh the list is long. Athletes, Musicians, Politicians, Preachers changing the world before they were 50.
But what about world changers after 50? Ray Kroc didn’t buy McDonalds and change the world until he was in his 50s. Colonel Sanders didn’t start KFC until in his 60s. Roget was in his 70s when he created the Thesaurus. Moses was in his 80s when he heard God’s call. Joshua and Caleb were in their 80s when their opportunity came.
So, here I am 50.
Famous? Not hardly. I’ve been a few places and done a few things, rubbed a few shoulders, yet I’m not changing the world, not in a noteworthy wikipedia sort of way. I’ve preached a lot of sermons, sung a lot of songs, loved a lot of people, and raised a family. I have loved one woman for 30 years. I’ve tried to bring some light to lives, and brighten a few days. I trusted Christ as my Savior 45 years ago. I surrendered to God’s call to preach 39 years ago. I preached my first sermon 37 years ago. I preached my first Revival and wrote my first song 33 years ago. I have no idea how many sermons I’ve preached or songs I’ve sung. There is no way I can know how many people I’ve sung and shared the gospel with. I’ve been the Senior Pastor of 3 congregations. I’ve visited beautiful places. Preached in many countries. Visited many more. I’ve been able to step foot on four continents and now find myself serving as Pastor to a church in Germany, a church full of heroes, mostly young, serving in the cause of freedom. As an average person I’m above average in a few things. But in the things I’m above the average person, I’m just average. Does that even make sense? 🙂
Bottom Line I guess for me, if anyone is still reading this; I’m Jim Goforth. I am Lisa’s husband. I have kept my commitment to be her husband and care for her the best I can for almost 30 years now. She is my best friend and greatest supporter. I will love her my whole life, until I have no breath in my lungs. I don’t know what Eternity will be like. Jesus leads us to believe that this relationship may be different in Heaven, but if I can I’ll love her for Eternity. I am Dad, to Andrew James and Bryan Jameson. They have my name in theirs. They have my imprint on their countenance but also on their conscience, on their minds, even on their sports affections. I have done my best to raise them to be fine men. They are that. They are fine men. They are impacting the world. They love people and they love Jesus. I am James L Goforth Jr. I am Jim and Virginia Goforth’s Son and Tom’s brother. I am Grandson to Carl and Frances Goforth as well as Lester and Helen Patterson. I have tried to follow the legacy of what they left behind. My parents and grandparents taught me to love people, to love Jesus and that’s what I’ve tried to do. I’m an uncle a few times over. Perhaps one day I’ll be a Granddad, and I’ll be a good one. I’m Pastor Jim or Pastor Goforth to an ever changing congregation. I have been a friend to the friendly and often to the unfriendly.
All BEFORE I was 50.
I don’t have to have a Jimmy Stewart moment from my favorite Christmas movie to know I have had a wonderful life. And the reality is that I guess the world would be different in some way if I hadn’t been here.
So, I have tomorrow, maybe, and if I do, I’ll try to keep doing all of these things. If I get 10,000 more tomorrows, what is that about 25 years? (I just checked 27.4) If I get 10,000 tomorrows, I’ll be trying to do what I’ve done up until now. I guess it will just slow down a little and it will ache a little more but I’ll keep doing it. And if I get 10,000 tomorrows, I hope to have nearly 10,000 more because I’ll just be hitting my stride and maybe I’ll finally look old enough that people will think I know what I’m talking about. I plan to live to be 100 if the Lord delays his coming. I plan to play golf in the morning and preach and sing in the evening. But I’ll have to be somewhere south if I’m going to do that on December the 23rd 2064. 2064? WOW that’s 50 years from now. I hope to close that day out like I’ll close this day out, giving Lisa a kiss and hopefully we will still be able to recognize each other. If we don’t then I’ll happily reintroduce myself to her and take it slow.
I just want to be a man
who Worships his Lord,
who Loves his Wife,
who Leads his Sons,
who Shepherds his church,
and along the way
Enjoys this Life that God
has given him in every way
I’m Turning 50