Summary: 14 observations about living for the Lord successfully.
OBSERVATIONS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT
THE FOURTH QUARTER
1. You live life looking forward, but you understand life looking backwards.
When we’re in grade school, we look forward to junior high school; and when we’re in college we look forward to adulthood. Paul said, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and looking forward to those things which are before” (Phil. 3:13). When we’re young, we think we know a lot about the future, but do we? When we get old, we’ve learned a lot about the past; and that’s an advantage.
a. Age 20, a man wants to wake up romantically;
Age 30, wants to wake up married;
Age 40, wants to wake up successful;
Age 50, wants to wake up rich;
Age 60, wants to wake up contented;
Age 70, wants to wake up healthy;
Age 80, he just wants to wake up.
b. People say life begins at 70. I read this about why 70 is such a wonderful age, “Because everybody wants to do something for you. They want to carry your bags, help you up the stairs, give you a lift, pass you a hymnbook in church, or hold a door open for you. When you’re 70, people are very kind to you and they compliment you for no good reason at all; other than the reason that you’ve reached 70. When you reach 70 and forget a name, people forgive you. If you make two appointments for the same hour, or if you forget and don’t show up; they forgive you. When you’re young, people seem to get mad at you for the least occasion, but when you turn 70, they forgive you--no matter what.”
2. Your success in the fourth quarter begins long before the game begins.
Your success in the game of life begins on the practice field. You learn the playbook, you practice the plays, you learn how to get along with team members and you mentally get prepared for the game.
My friend, John Maxwell, says that in life if we “play now, we will pay later.” By that he says, if you spend your youth always playing and don’t prepare for life, then you will pay for it later. However, John Maxwell says, “Pay first, you can play later.” By that he means, if we pay the price early in life and learn how to live, how to make money, and how to make our families work, then later on we will enjoy happiness.
I reject the myth that growing older means becoming less useful. As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. How you play in the last quarter determines if you win or lose the game. Those who win the game usually play the best in the fourth quarter. Because I am doing more for God than I have ever done, I now realize that the fourth quarter is the most important quarter in my life. Make it the best quarter in your life.
3. The greatest thing about the fourth quarter, is still being in the game.
Think about all the people who got tired of playing and quit . . . or the coach took them out because they didn’t play well . . . or they didn’t even get in the game in the second half. When the coach leaves you in during the final minutes of the fourth quarter, it’s because the coach believes in you and knows you can get the job done.
a. I am happy to be 68, because I’ve made it thus far.
b. I am happy to be 68, because I am still in the game.
c. I am happy to be 68, because I’ve got a lot of game left to play.
4. The longer you stay in the game, the more comfortable you get playing the game.
During the first play of the game, usually you are a little tense and scared. You don’t know if you can block the guy, or if you can catch the pass. But the longer you stay in the game, the more comfortable you get with your ability. You learn what you can, and can’t do.
The longer I serve the Lord, the more comfortable I am serving the Lord. I know what I can do for God, and what I can’t. I am Jerry Falwell, I am not a Bible teacher like John MacArthur, and I am not a city-wide evangelist like Billy Graham. When it comes to ministry in the fourth quarter, Jerry Falwell is first and foremost a pastor; second, a prophet who speaks against the evils of our nation; third, I am an educator who is Chancellor of Liberty University; and everything else falls in line after that.
5. Even though the game gets more comfortable in the fourth quarter, it never gets any easier.