Commentary: There's no 'hanging it up' when it comes to serving God


Did you see the recent B. C. Sunday comic in which the character is working strenuously to climb the steep mountain? Each panel shows his progress. Then he finally reaches the summit, and asks, “Ever arrive at a place and forget why you’re there?”

Sounds like my daily dilemma.

“What did I come in here for? What did I do with my keys? Where did I leave my glasses?

Sometimes I think I’m losing my mind. I stopped by the cleaners to pick up a shirt, and the lady asked, “Do you want to pick up everything?”

I knew I only had one shirt, but I also knew that sometimes they get me mixed up with another Chancey that frequents those cleaners and I said, “I only have one shirt.”

She said, “We have you down for three more shirts and a pair of pants.”

“Oh, I’ve already picked up that order.”

She printed the ticket, went to the back and pulled out three shirts and a pair of pants, and the tickets were marked “re-do.” “Re-do” usually means they goofed something up and I sent it back, and I knew I didn’t “re-do” that order.

Yet, there were my clothes I knew I had paid for, taken home, and were hanging in my closet. I was so confused. How did they get those shirts out of my closet and back to the cleaners without my knowing it?

The clerk suggested, “Maybe you paid for them and walked out without them.” I realized that’s exactly what I did. I was talking to the young lady, paid, and walked out, not even realizing I hadn’t taken my clothes. I thought they were at home, ready to be worn again.

I was shocked and embarrassed when she showed me those shirts. At least I didn’t have to pay again.

Those kinds of embarrassing moments remind me I’m not the youngster I used to be. My “forgetter” is improving, but my “rememberer” is on the blink.

However, I’m determined to keep moving. My goal is to run Atlanta’s  Peachtree Road Race when I’m 90, like Bill Thorn, the retired coach who annually ran the July 4th race for 50 years until he hung it up last year at age 92.

I want to keep running the race of the Christian life. I want to be like the person described in Psalm 92:12-14: “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.”

Fresh and flourishing! That’s my goal, to be planted in a strong, growing relationship with the Lord, and to keep growing, serving, and bearing much fruit. As I grow older, I don’t want to sit and soak. I don’t want to coast, nor stand on the sidelines.

What does the senior saint who is fresh and flourishing look like? Psalm 71 gives us some insight:

  • He practices continuous prayer (71:2-5).
  • He possesses hope. Because he has a deep trust in God (71:1, 5), he is not cynical or negative. As the Psalmist declares in Psalm 71:5, “For You are my hope, O Lord God.”
  • He is praising God more and more (71:14, 22, 23).
  • He uses his speech not in destructive ways, like gossip and spreading seeds of discord, but to spread the good news of God’s righteousness and wonderful works. Six times in Psalm 71, the Psalmist refers to uplifting speech (15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24).
  • He goes in the strength of the Lord (71:16).
  • He passes the faith to the next generation (71:18).
  • He again declares trust in God’s sovereignty (71:19-21).

Recently, this “youngster” stepped into a new chapter. I retired after 38 years of pastoring. I deeply miss my church family but felt God leading me to take this step of faith. I’m not retiring from ministry and pray God will use me to help churches between pastors, to fill the pulpit when the pastor’s away, and to expand my writing ministry.

There’s no hanging it up in Christian service if we are to be fresh and flourishing. Every day presents new opportunities to serve. We’ll see how God works!


David L. Chancey recently retired after over 24 years of serving as pastor of McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. He plans to continue preaching as God opens doors and to expand his writing ministry. See his other writings at