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DR. DON By Bill Stoner

I must say I was impressed. I have a friend who just received his Doctor of Ministry from Knox Theological Seminary. Now, I know what you are thinking, there must be hundreds of men and women who have received a doctorate from fine institutions such as Knox Theological Seminary. But how many of them are 67 years old? How many of them worked a full-time job while writing a thesis for the final step in obtaining his doctorate? This is a man who has been a faithful pastor, a successful businessman, a loving husband, and a wonderful father and grandfather. The last thing this man needs at the age of 67 is a piece of paper that he can hang on his wall that says: “Doctor”. It won’t get him any attention from the other smart people in the room, and it certainly won’t get him a better place in line at the next church supper. (Although it may get him some attention the next time someone yells, “Is there a doctor in the house?) So why do it? Why spend all those hours (and all that coin) on something that won’t even buy you a new expresso machine. The answer:  commitment!

During our discussion, I did ask him what kept him going and how he ultimately accomplished this goal. His answer was twofold. First, he saw it as a way of improving his preaching skills. Who doesn’t want to improve their skills in the profession that God has called them to, no matter what stage of life they are in? (Look at me, still trying to improve my comedic skills which some would argue that I don’t even have) But the second thing which drove him to complete this goal was his family. During those last years of writing, he thought of giving up and spending the time doing other things, but he always remembered his commitment. His family was very important at this stage, encouraging him to continue and complete the work. However, it was his commitment to God that really brought it home for him. He wanted to finish what he had begun so that God would be honored and pleased.  Well, done Dr. Don!

Age should never be a factor if God gives us an assignment to do. Remember Caleb and what he said to Joshua when he was distributing the land? “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for 45 years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, 85 years old. I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I am just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day.” Joshua 14:10-12

Can you hear the determination in his voice? The boldness, the confidence that he had. I’m sure at that point Joshua just handed him the keys to the city and said, “Here, take them, they’re all yours.”  Caleb was faithful to God and he was rewarded for that.

What about you? What assignment has God given to you? Is it to write a thesis for a Doctoral Program? Is it to spy out the land that God promised to His children? Or is it to take some cookies (Costco has some delicious cookies in case you don’t bake) to your neighbor who can’t get out because of a debilitating disease? God will nudge you in the direction you should go, but don’t block Him. Age isn’t a problem, ability isn’t a problem, and even geography isn’t a problem. The problem is: us. So many times, we say “I can’t” before we even know the whole assignment. Ask God today what He would have you do, and if you still aren’t sure, call me. I know a doctor who can help you with that!