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Leave It All There

November 22, 2019

“I thought you retired, Joe!”

“You’re not very good at this Retirement thing, are you, Joe?”

Those two lines summarize things I hear frequently. 

Warren Lathem, friend and colleague from both college (Asbury, just outside of Lexington, KY)) and seminary (Candler, part of Emory University in Atlanta), articulates my response far better than I ever have.

It’s with his expressed gracious permission that I can share this with you here —

“Leave it all on the field” is a phrase I’ve known most of my life.

It was the philosophy of Coach and Elementary Principal Darrell Brock. He urged us to give it all we had right up through the last buzzer.

Then today I saw it in an article by friend and former parishioner, Beverly Chitwood Varnado, who is married to a UGA football legend and pastor. Beverly is a devout Christian, artist and very successful writer. She is one of the most talented people I know. She was one of the consultants I relied on in starting the Beacon of Hope Women’s Center so many years ago.

Her use of the phrase “leave it all on the field” was in the context of a eulogy to a long time Christian friend. She used it as a tribute to her friend. But her use of the phrase, combined with my nostalgic trip back to the gym at Free Home School Sunday as we celebrated over 100 years of education in that place, further seeing some old friends on that football team, reminds me of my desire to “leave it all on the field.”

I am retired, but I can’t find a way to retire from the call of discipleship, the mandate of the Great Commission or the Lord’s call on my life.

Whether it’s one day or 20 years, when the buzzer sounds, I want the folks who matter to know Warren “left it all on the field!”

— Ditto. And Amen. And you?

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