The mission field needs older blokes
9 Sep 2020
There I was, as a young bloke on our family dairy farm in country NSW, looking up at this amazingly agile crop-duster spreading fertilizer on our neighbour’s grass pasture. It was then that I wanted to be a crop-duster pilot and enjoy such freedoms. How times change!
Now, just turned 67 years and with my wife serving our Lord as a cross-cultural worker in the Philippines, I never followed that early fleeting dream (and I have no regrets). Most of our lives take many twists and turns over time, and mine has been no different. It’s important to appreciate that every aspect of our life can be used as God calls us, as we are shaped and sharpened over time and through all our individual, family, work, and Christian walk experiences. As I enter my third ‘career’, I can look back and see that this is true for me.
Military service, and for me it was 31 years in the Army, provided a powerful environment for personal and corporate development, where you focus on others as well as yourself and the wider goals and influences. My successful uniformed career shaped me and provided a wide range of knowledge and skills that could be used almost anywhere (if you overcome the Army stereotype). My second career was for 14 years as a non-uniform Public Servant working with national law enforcement agencies. This was a rewarding time where I was able to bring the military knowledge and experience into another sphere of public service, as well as learn to work with a wide range of dedicated people. It also confirmed to me how all of us can move from one work environment to another and still add value and be challenged to grow more.
So, as I approached my later years of paid employment, I was not ready for the ‘grey-haired nomad’ set, although a time of travel and exploration at your own pace sounds exciting. I was encouraged by my wife and the Holy Spirit to a time of unpaid cross-cultural service. It has been exciting and reassuring to know that God desires to use us older blokes in obedience to his Great Commission, as well as everyone else. This is also where all our life’s experiences culminate in serving where He calls. My uniform now is T-shirt, shorts and thongs, and that’s appropriate where He has called us.
Be assured, the mission field wherever that may be for you, needs us older blokes. It’s a time of giving back to our Lord in a different environment, where you can bring your life’s knowledge and experiences to the field of God’s calling. It’s also a refreshing time where you know you haven’t been ‘turned out to pasture’ but are joining the many thousands of other cross-cultural workers in His mission – now that’s exciting!
-Gary, a Pioneers worker serving in the Philippines.
Is God calling you to join the mission field? Get in touch.