Usually, when someone hands in their church keys, it’s not a good thing! It usually portends an issue of some kind. Thus, when someone wants a few minutes of my time, and on entering my office the first thing they do is lay their church keys on my desk saying “I won’t be needing these any longer,” well, you expect the worst.
In this case, not so! While I won’t use his full name, if you are member of the CPTC family, you will recognize who I am talking about. Even if you don’t know him, there is still a lesson here for all of us.
Linn, age 97, recently brought me his church keys. Yes, he laid them on my desk and said, “I won’t be needing these any longer.” Linn has been a member of CPTC for scores of years and member of our Properties Committee for most of those years. In my 20 years here, I have found him on the church roof many times when he was well past the age of 80! He has been a fixture on campus and has always served willingly, being a tremendous asset with his knowledge and “know how to fix it” life experience. And, he is a joy to know and work with!
His reasoning? Not a “church problem” or a “pastor problem;” no, he said he was in a season of life where he did not feel he could contribute any longer for a variety of reasons. Thus, he felt he needed to pass on the responsibilities to a younger person! He never really said anything about his age being a determining factor. It was more about his need to be there for his wife of 73 years. YES, 73! He made a commitment “until death do us part” and he is doing his part during this time where life is difficult for both of them.
Observations? While many of us, probably most of us, plan on turning in the keys well before age 97, Linn stands in example of faithful commitment for us all. First, to his wife. She has been his priority and that is both understood and respected. Second, his faithfulness to continue to serve as long as the Lord allows is a vivid picture of loving the church and the church family, never using age as an excuse not to be faithful.
I truly believe, if I turned my head for a minute, Linn would have the ladder out and show these young whipper-snappers how to do it. Don’t you love that old school commitment? Still going at age 97! Still married and in love after 73 years! He still would if he could!
Linn’s keys are still on my desk, a poignant reminder to me. And, yes, I am looking for that younger person who will pick up the keys and keep on going until…
(NOTE: Between the writing and publishing of this article, Trecie (Linn’s wife) went home to her Savior on November 27. She had “the Key”! Please keep Linn in your prayers as a big part of his earthly life is now missing.)