Finishing First!

By Lt. Colonel Joe Noland – 

Lt. Col. Joe Noland I’m getting old, no question about it. To slow down the aging process I work out with weights every other day and jog on the alternate days. Younger runners whiz by as if I’m standing still. The speed doesn’t bother me. It’s the attitude that infuriates me. “Get out of the way, Gramps! Why doesn’t that old buzzard retire to the rocker room instead of the locker room. Why can’t these old geezers learn to grow old gracefully?” I hear them thinking. A smug “air of superiority” screams forth with great clarity and cocksuredness. I hate that!

I wasn’t born yesterday (obviously). I know what they’re thinking. How do I know? Because a few years ago I was thinking the same thoughts. When those young, supple, finely tuned, beautiful bodies (free from wrinkles and cellulite) go gliding by, I want to yell, “This is a 58-year-old body that you have just passed by. Not bad for a 58-year-old, huh? I would like to see what kind of shape you are in when you reach 58-probably be ‘caning’ it!” I’ve been thinking about having a T-shirt made that reads on the back, “58 years old and still moving forward. Pass with care…and great respect.”

I like what the old fella in his 80s said: “Whatever the confusions of yesterday, the uncertainties of tomorrow or frustrations of today, this I know to be true-when I cease to grow, I’ll begin to die. And so when I can run, I’ll run; when I can walk, I’ll walk; and when I can only crawl, I’ll crawl. But with the will of God, I’ll at least keep on moving forward.”

Keep on moving forward! That’s my motto. That’s my battle cry! That’s my definition of jogging. You can call it the senior shuffle or geriatric gallop if you want, but if I’m moving forward it will be jogging to me.

I’m not competing with anyone, young or old. I’m competing with myself. I’m not racing against anyone. I’m racing against time, the Grim Reaper, trying to keep one step ahead. I’m not training for the Senior Olympics or the Decrepit Decathlon. I’m in training for the race of my life. I’m in training to keep my heart strong, my muscles flexible, my weight down, my blood pressure down, my cholesterol down and my bounce up so that I will have a little more time in this life.

Keep on Moving Forward!

I’m in the race of my life. I’m in the stretch run and I want to stretch it out as far as I can. Many of you, on the other hand, are just out of the starting blocks. For some of you the finish line is far out in front of you. Having said that, there is no way of knowing precisely when the finish line will come. Not one of us knows the physical length of our race against time. Will the finish line come at 60 meters? 100 meters? One mile? Or will we complete the marathon? We do not know when the finish line will come. We know one thing for certain-it will come.

Keep on Moving Forward!

Jesus was in the same race. The finish line came when he was 33 years of age-400 meters. Hebrews 12 says, “…keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed-that exhilarating finish in and with God-He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.” (The Message) It didn’t matter when He finished. It mattered how He finished-FIRST! He took his place of honor, right alongside God.

Keep on Moving Forward!

I am writing this column to tell you that you are also in the race of your spiritual life-the heavenly race. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who is the finish line. I’m writing this column to tell you that you are not competing against anybody else to finish first. In a human race only one can finish first. In the heavenly race every one of you can finish first. I’m writing this column to tell you that everyone can be a winner.

Keep on Moving Forward!

Hebrews 12 goes on to say, “When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Jesus is the author and finisher of your faith. By exercising your faith He will shoot adrenaline into your souls and you will…

Keep on Moving Forward!

And if you must! Please pass with care-and great respect. Remember! I’m going to finish first!


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