As I listened to Peyton Manning’s retirement speech from professional football the other day, I was impressed by several things he said. Of course, living near Indianapolis, it’s almost impossible not to be a Manning fan, after the great success he had as a Colt and then as a Bronco in Denver.
I appreciated his positive attitude toward the next phases of his life. Since he is not yet 40 years old, “retirement” is a strange word to use, although that’s the way it is with football players. Most don’t have as long a career as he had.
His statement about this time of transition is classic: “I’m totally convinced that the end of my football career is just the beginning of something I haven’t even discovered yet. Life is not shrinking for me, it’s morphing into a whole new world of possibilities.”
I’ve had a few transitions in my life. It was my privilege to serve as a pastor for five different congregations as well as to serve a two-state area as district superintendent. It was always difficult to move from one group of people to the next. At every point, we left behind people whom we had grown to love. But soon life opened up new possibilities and we greeted them with gratitude and enthusiasm.
People have asked me, “Don’t you miss being a pastor (district superintendent)?” And someday when I leave my current job, someone may ask me if I miss what I’m doing now. I always miss the relationships and certain parts of each responsibility. But again, as Peyton said, there’s always that “whole new world of possibilities.”
I have come to this conclusion: The best job in the world is to be where God wants you to be at the time he wants you to be there.
This attitude helps with all the adjustments required when we face another transition. The new position is, by definition, different from the previous one. What lies ahead offers different challenges from what we just experienced.
But facing that new world of possibilities is an exciting adventure – if you’re where God wants you to be.
So let’s embrace life and live so we can ultimately quote the Scripture Peyton Manning quoted: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7 NIV).
Rev. Ron McClung is assistant general secretary for The Wesleyan Church.