Ready for Prime Time?
Even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation. PSALM 71:18
All parents eventually face the empty-nest years. And many do not look forward to them. But I want to challenge you to think of the empty nest as a brief parenthesis—a chance to catch your breath, a time to seriously evaluate what the next fruit-producing years of your life will look like.
I like to call the next phase "prime time"—the season on the other side of the empty nest when you transition from childrearing to new goals that are equally as noble. It's a process of listening to God and to each other, trying to determine a sense of direction and affirming the priorities that will define the rest of your lives.
Ideally these priorities should hinge around two commands in Scripture:
1. The Great Commandment. Perhaps you've heard this phrase from the Westminster Catechism: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." You do this by being obedient to Christ's Great Commandment: Love the Lord with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself (see Matthew 22:36-39).
2. The Great Commission. This is the greatest job assignment ever given to man: "Go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19, NIV). Jesus was saying that your life is about proclaiming and teaching the gospel of redemption and reconciliation to those who are lost, while also influencing and commissioning a new generation of believers to do the same (see also verse 20).
If your "prime-time mission" doesn't include these priorities, you will miss much of life as you move into your later years. Regardless of your season, now is the time for you two to enlist in the Great Commission army and engage in the greatest commandment ever given to man.
Whether you're nearing the empty nest or not, name one or two planned activities you could begin doing together to mirror these two biblical objectives.
Ask the Lord for courage to face periods of transition with hope and purpose. Ask for guidance and trust Him to reveal His will in His way, in His time.