LPNI DevotionApril 2016


Living Well in the Third Chapter of Life


This month I am beginning a three-month sabbatical.  I am exploring how I can live well in

the Third Chapter of my life.   I am hoping that as I learn how I can better live well in this phase of life, I can also produce a workshop that might help others. 


I first heard the phrase “Third Chapter” when looking at a web site for Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Wellness, Arizona.   I am amazed how crafty the Holy Spirit is when it comes to using Google to leading me to a new thought!   They use the term, “Third Chapter”, in reference to the years of life between 50 and 70.   These are years that may include early retirement and a new volunteer vocation, or they may mean a change in one’s vocation as people work toward retirement.  


I think of all the people God called to a new vocation later in life.   I doubt Noah had ever considered building a boat before God called him to build a very big boat.   I doubt Moses had ever considered being a tour guide before God called him to lead the people of Israel on a 40-year tour.   Paul was pretty content in his life as a prosecutor of Christians.  I am sure he had not planned a Third Chapter conversion to being a Christian himself!  As there are many of us Baby Boomers sojourning through Third, Fourth and sometimes Fifth Chapters of life, it seems a good time to consider how God is calling us to live out these years of service. 


Parish Nurses have had this figured out long ago.  Many of the Parish Nurses I know have taken on this mantel after a long career as a hospital or clinic RN.   God called you to a new way of using your talents.


I don’t know how many chapters my Book of Life contains.  But I know that somewhere during the years between 50 and 70, I will start a new one.   Jesus certainly set the best example of all for starting a new chapter of life.   In all likelihood he worked as a carpenter for his first 30 years.  All during that time he was both fully human and fully divine.   All during that time God had sent him to earth with a mission.   For 30 years he waited, until this new chapter of his life.  It lasted for three years.


During those precious three years he called others to turn the page, drop their nets and follow him.  The amazing thing was that they did.   They, too, started a new chapter.   For three years Jesus taught them everything they would need for this new vocation as disciples.  Then he turned to the Last Chapter of his earthly life, took on our sin and died on the cross to pay for it all.

Everyone thought that was the Last Chapter.   The disciples were heartbroken.   But Jesus had one more surprise.   He had told them about it, but it was too good to be true.  He rose from the dead and now promises each one of us that we, too, will be raised on the first day of our eternity in the new heaven and the new earth God will create. 


Jesus let us know that life is more than Four Chapters.   The Book of Life is endless.  At all times in our lives we need to be open to God’s call.   Where is God calling you to serve in your next chapter?   The promise is, it will be a page turner. 


Rocky Mease, M.Div., M.A., B.C.C.

Executive Chaplain, Kansas District, LCMS,  Topeka, Kansas