I’m now officially old enough to coast. I have been for a while. According to Crest Leadership, most leaders start well. Around the age of 40, most start to plateau and either end up maintaining or declining. Only a minority continue to grow, which is a shame. “The second half of life has the most potential,” they write.
I’ve done my share of coasting. I’m happy to be in a position now in which coasting is just not a possibility. It’s hard to coast and plant a church at the same time.
I spoke this week on Paul’s command to Timothy: “Fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5). This means to accomplish something thoroughly and completely. Leave nothing on the table. Give it everything you’ve got. Bring it to completion holding back nothing. Stay at it until the task is completed. That’s how I want to spend the next decades of my life. It’s much better than coasting.
Charles Simeon was the pastor of Trinity Church, Cambridge, England for 49 years. When Simeon was approaching 60, he decided to retire. He went to what he thought was his last visit to Scotland. His voice had been bad; he had been through the wringer. But while there, he had an encounter with God. He felt that God actually said to him:
I laid you aside, because you entertained with satisfaction the thought of resting from your labour; but that now you have arrived at the very period when you had promised yourself that satisfaction, and have determined instead to spend your strength for me to the latest hour of your life, I have doubled, trebled, quadrupled your strength, that you may execute your desire on a more extended plan.
At sixty years of age, Simeon renewed his commitment to his pulpit and the mission of the church and preached vigorously for 17 more years, until two months before his death. He gave himself with all his might to the work till he died.
It’s a good example: spending our strength for God to the latest hour of our lives, choosing not to coast but to fulfill our ministries to the end. I pray that God doubles, triples, or quadruples the strength of those who keep at it till the end.