OUT TO PASTOR: I ain’t 16 anymore
I’ve had so many birthdays in my life that I really don’t know how old I am. All I know is that I’m one year older than I was last year. I would not be able to remember when my life began if it wasn’t for paperwork..
To many people, numbers are very important, but in my opinion, a number is just a number.
As I look forward to another birthday, I would like to go back to being 16 again. Those were the good old days, as they say.
When I was 16, I was rather oblivious of things that were happening in the world. We didn’t have TV back then and only got a TV when President J.F. Kennedy was assassinated. Dad had to get a TV to keep up with what was going on.
I had no internet, computer, cell phone, video games or anything of the like. So in all actuality, I was on my own.
One thing that really impressed me about being 16 was that I could get a driver’s license and drive a car. The disappointing aspect about this was, I didn’t have enough money to buy a car and so had to borrow my father’s car when it was convenient for him. Oh boy, those were the days.
At 16, I believed I had become a certified adult. I was at the stage now where nobody could tell me what to do. I was my own boss.
At least I thought I was my own boss. However, I still was in high school, and for some reason, my teachers thought they were in charge of the class. How little did they know?
It took being sent to the principal's office five times before realizing I was not really in charge of my class.
I also began to realize that being in charge of your life is very expensive. Before I was 16, my parents paid for everything for me. But now that I’m 16, that income stream dried up.
I remember my father saying to me, “Son, you’re 16 now, and you are in charge of your life.”
My smile flashed all over my face, I was now set free, and I can do whatever I wanted to do.
My father wasn't quite done with me yet, “Now that you are 16, you’re going to have to pay for your things.”
At the time, I didn’t know what he meant, but I shook my head energetically and smiled, and was now ready to go out into the world and be my own boss. I was so anxious to get started in this lifestyle of being in control.
The next day as I was ready to go to school, I stopped and asked my father, “Dad, I need some money for lunch today.”
My father looked at me and said, “I thought you were in control of your life?”
“Yes, dad, I’m in control of my life; I’m my own boss.”
“Then,” my father said, “that means you have to pay for your own lunch. If you’re in charge, that means you have to pay for what you have.”
He turned around and walked away, and I stood there glaring at him. I did not know that being in charge meant I had to pay for everything. He should’ve explained that to me a little more clearly.
One Saturday, I needed to borrow my father’s car to go to a baseball game. “Dad, can I borrow your car so I can go to my baseball game this afternoon?”
“You sure can,” my father said, “and by the way, the car is low on gas, so you’ll have to put gas in the car.”
I began to have different feelings about being in charge of my life. I had no idea that my life was so expensive. Now, I had to get a job so that I could pay for everything and be my own boss.
It took me a long time to realize how great my life was before I turned 16. If I would have known that, I think I would’ve lived more extravagantly on my dad’s credit card.
After celebrating my 16th birthday, I cooled down a little bit to realize that life really is hard, and getting old is not for sissies. Plus, it’s very costly.
Before I was 16, I thought everything was free, I could do whatever I please, and there would be no accountability.
Turning 16 turned my life completely around.
One of the most important lessons I have learned since I turned 16 was that it is essential to know what you don’t know. If you think you know everything, you’re missing out on a lot of life.
Right after turning 16, I ran across what has become my life verse from the Bible. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Looking back, I can see that it serves no purpose not to trust in the Lord. However, I experience things that are beyond my experience and understanding, and that’s when God steps in.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-216-3025 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.