I’m pretty impatient. I’d rather get something done today than have it drag out for months. It probably comes with the territory of being young. As we consider why we need older people in our lives and we delve deeper into the concept Nat so ably illustrated, what wisdom can we gain from older people? One area of wisdom is a sense of pace. Pace, you say? Yes, pace—that sense of working hard without losing perspective and not spilling all your resources too quickly.

I teach my six-year-old’s boys’ soccer team. Six-year-olds have no sense of pace. It’s either full go or full stop. No sense of using energy appropriately. Frankly that’s not always confined to young boys. I remember training most of the summer for a local 4K run. As the race started, the adrenalin hit. I knew I needed to pace myself, but as all these people started running next to me, I tried to keep up. By the time I had run 1K I knew I was in trouble. Older people can help provide a sense of pace.

One example of this Biblically is Moses and Jethro in Exodus 18. Moses was burning the candle at both ends trying to solve everyone’s problems, and Jethro came along and noticed. He provided a sense of pace and a solution to give strength so that Moses would be able to endure (Exod. 18:23). Pace involves knowing the limits of my resources and energy and not spending my reserves inappropriately or ineffectively.

Pace also involves expectations. If you’re running, how hard should you be breathing at ‘x’ pace? As young people, we might not know when we are working too hard or too easy. Pace gives a sense of expectation of what’s appropriate. Paul definitely did this for Timothy in 1 and 2 Timothy. He tried to give expectations as to how the church should be functioning and how Timothy should be leading in the church. He told Timothy to expect problem people and problem situations. He gave him expectations as to how to handle those situations. He told Timothy to expect rewards and enjoy those rewards. Sometimes young guys expect no problems and sometimes they expect too many. Older guys can help give a sense of pace in our pursuit of leading the church and seeing God work. One of the most helpful phrases I remember from seminary that gave me that perspective on pace was from Dr. Bixby, who talked about struggling and “dead” churches. He said you can expect it to take 10 years to help a church back to health. That definitely gives a sense of pace, doesn’t it?

How can you get a sense of pace?

  • Understand that the age of the people you work with makes a difference. Younger people change much more quickly than older ones.
  • Search out the Scriptures and see God’s patience with us to give you a sense of pace.
  • Ask older people in your church, What do I seem impatient about in ministry?
  • Ask older pastors, How have you sustained yourself in fervency for ministry all these years?

Thank God for the wisdom He gives us by sharing ministry together!