Green Bananas


“‘As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work’” (John 9:4).

Recently, I spent the morning in the waiting room of a doctor in West Palm Beach, and boy, did I see a picture clearly. Here it is: Get to it—we do not have forever.

I sat and watched as the other patients hobbled in, were wheeled in or stumbled in. They were breathless, wearing wraparound dark glasses, carrying canes, breathing hard, confused, grimacing, drooling, drooping and generally looking very old.

My first response was pity. Man, these people are getting OLD, I thought. I hope they all last long enough to make it in to see the doctor.

Then I got to thinking, Why am I here? This was my third visit to the doctor in a couple of weeks, and some of the problems I have are ones I cannot discuss in the open market. I had to admit that I was in the same boat as the “old folks” in the waiting room, just a little farther back up the stream.

I started talking to the people in the waiting room. My wife, Donna, gets embarrassed when I talk to everyone I meet, but since she was at home, I decided to take a little survey. I asked my fellow patients these questions: Have you enjoyed life? Do you feel good about your accomplishments?

The answers were incredible. The people lit up. They told me about their lives—what they had enjoyed and what they had accomplished. Then I asked them, “Are you done?” NO was the resounding answer. Some of those folks looked like they should not buy green bananas, but they still had the drive and the desire to keep going. For the most part, they had had fruitful lives.

And then a common thread appeared in the conversations. They all wished, as I do, that they were young again and could get back in the saddle and get things done.

Get where I am going? Work for the night is coming. On that morning in the waiting room, my mind drifted back to the missionary adventure I have had over the last 45 years. Those who know me know I was in overdrive the whole time. I look back and wonder how I lived through it. But as I sat there waiting to see the doctor, I was grateful for the boundless energy God gave me. When I allowed Him to work through me, incredible things occurred. I am sure many of you reading this have the same thoughts from time to time.

Mine was a wonderful, action-packed run, and it ain’t over yet. The night might be coming, but some of the best football games we had at my alma mater were at dusk, when we could hardly see the ball but played on anyway.

The lights are going out. But God still gives me energy and the desire to keep in the game. I want to encourage you to do the same.

Young missionaries and ministers, you are in the prime of your life, and God has called you to an incredible harvest field. Work with all your might because, take it from me, night is coming. Let the Spirit of God work through you because, as I look back now, I see that only the things He did have survived the test of time.

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