December 1, 2019
I am writing this post at 2:00 A.M. Dec. 1, 2019. I was polishing my notes up for this post early Saturday morning, November 30. It was my 71st birthday. I had already gotten my first call from my son, John Paul, wishing me a happy birthday. Before the day was over I got many calls from friends and family from coast to cost wishing me a happy birthday, and I had received over 40 Facebook posts.
My second call came in early from my first cousin, Russell Plumley, (who is really more like a brother than a cousin) and lives in Kansas.
When I answered the phone, Russell said, “Happy birthday! Do you feel like you’re 39?”
We both laughed a few seconds. You’d have to be around 65 years old to know where that joke came from of saying you were 39 when you are much older. There was a famous (and very good) comedian on television 50-plus years ago named Jack Benny. He had a running joke on his program of always telling people he was 39 years old, when in fact he was much older.
I replied to Russell and said, “No, I’ll be honest with you. I don’t feel 39 years old. And I really don’t think anyone 71 years old can honestly say that they feel 39 years old.”
Russell said, “Well, remember this, when you wake up in the mornings and feel bad and are hurting all over and are breathing, you’re still alive.” We both laughed again and I said, “We all need to be like a former church parishioner of mine who was famous for saying that every day above ground is a good day.” And remember that medical doctor from the University of Texas many years named ago named Red Duke, who often said, “Getting older can be a lot of pains, but it’s better than the alternative.”
Russell and I talked and laughed awhile longer before he had to hang up. It was a good conversation.
I’ve had so many good birthdays. And I’ve had some really good birthday presents. The first really good birthday present that I can remember was when I was 10 years old. Daddy and Mother bought me a single shot 410 gauge Stevens shotgun. Most of my birthday presents are long gone, all except one. It’s a Bible that Mother bought me the year I turned 53 years old. It was the last present she would buy me as she died the following December.
In this Bible, on the presentation page, Mother wrote: “From Darline Plumley, your Mother that loves you. Spencer, you have been a Blessing straight from God.”
That Bible is one of my most prized and valuable earthly possessions.
Mother’s quote to me about being a blessing from God really gets me to thinking a lot. How many people have I been a blessing to? Who’ll really miss me when I’m gone?
I hope I’ve blessed a lot of people. And I hope I’m around awhile to keep on blessing people as God wants me (and everyone else) to do.
But the truth is that this could be my last birthday. Nobody knows how much time they have left to live. There was a senior high school boy killed in a car wreck last month as he was driving to school one morning. in a nearby town. he was 18 years old. I’m certain he didn’t think that morning when he got out of bed that that would be his last day on earth to live.
We’re all going to die. Some too young, some old. But death is certain. Hebrews 9:27 says it’s appointed to man once to die. Even early in mankind’s existence, God said in Genesis 3:19 that we would all return to dust.
Actually we should think of our mortality every day, especially as we get older. What have we done with our lives? That should be a question we ask ourselves often.
Life sometimes can be difficult. There are many trials and tribulations. Life is easier on some people than it is on others, and harder on some people than on others. We can’t live other peoples lives and they can’t live ours. Hebrews 12:1 says, …let us run with patience (one version says perseverance) the race that is set before us.”
Sure, you’ll get discouraged sometimes with life’s problems. That’s normal. I love the story of Elijah. He was doing everything God told him to do, and then the wicked and ungodly king and queen said they were going to have him killed. He fled to the desert and sat under a Juniper tree crying and praying to God to let him die. But God didn’t let him die because God had a lot of work for Elijah yet to do. Finally God spoke to Elijah in a “still, small voice.” And Elijah was encouraged once again and went on with life until God finally took him home.
One of my favorite things to read in the Bible are the lists of begats (people’s linage – their heritage). My favorite place to read a very short version of the begats is from Ruth, Chapter 4. Ruth is a great short book to read. It says that Boaz begat Obed, and Obed bagat Jesse, and Jesse begat David. And we know in David’s lineage, Jesus was born.
There are and will continue to be many begats in your life – your family tree, as some people say.
So, celebrate each birthday. My 71st birthday was wonderful. I had my wonderful wife and daughter and granddaughter, Summer, with me yesterday. And I talked to so many friends and family. I hope this is not my last birthday, but if it is, I’ve had a wonderful life. Thanks, Lord!
God Bless You.