Living Well in the Third Chapter of
This month I am beginning a three-month
sabbatical. I am exploring how I can live well in
the Third Chapter of my life. I am
hoping that as I learn how I can better live well in this phase of
life, I can also produce a workshop that might help
I first heard the phrase “Third Chapter” when
looking at a web site for Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in
Wellness, Arizona. I am amazed how crafty the Holy
Spirit is when it comes to using Google to leading me to a new
thought! They use the term, “Third Chapter”, in
reference to the years of life between 50 and 70. These
are years that may include early retirement and a new volunteer
vocation, or they may mean a change in one’s vocation as people
work toward retirement.
I think of all the people God called to a new
vocation later in life. I doubt Noah had ever
considered building a boat before God called him to build a very
big boat. I doubt Moses had ever considered being a
tour guide before God called him to lead the people of Israel on a
40-year tour. Paul was pretty content in his life as a
prosecutor of Christians. I am sure he had not planned a
Third Chapter conversion to being a Christian himself! As
there are many of us Baby Boomers sojourning through Third, Fourth
and sometimes Fifth Chapters of life, it seems a good time to
consider how God is calling us to live out these years of
Parish Nurses have had this figured out long
ago. Many of the Parish Nurses I know have taken on this
mantel after a long career as a hospital or clinic RN.
God called you to a new way of using your talents.
I don’t know how many chapters my Book of Life
contains. But I know that somewhere during the years between
50 and 70, I will start a new one. Jesus certainly set
the best example of all for starting a new chapter of
life. In all likelihood he worked as a carpenter for
his first 30 years. All during that time he was both fully
human and fully divine. All during that time God had
sent him to earth with a mission. For 30 years he
waited, until this new chapter of his life. It lasted for
During those precious three years he called
others to turn the page, drop their nets and follow him. The
amazing thing was that they did. They, too, started a
new chapter. For three years Jesus taught them
everything they would need for this new vocation as
disciples. Then he turned to the Last Chapter of his earthly
life, took on our sin and died on the cross to pay for it all.
Everyone thought that was the Last
Chapter. The disciples were heartbroken.
But Jesus had one more surprise. He had told them about
it, but it was too good to be true. He rose from the dead and
now promises each one of us that we, too, will be raised on the
first day of our eternity in the new heaven and the new earth God
Jesus let us know that life is more than Four
Chapters. The Book of Life is endless. At all
times in our lives we need to be open to God’s call.
Where is God calling you to serve in your next chapter?
The promise is, it will be a page turner.
Rocky Mease, M.Div., M.A., B.C.C.
Executive Chaplain, Kansas District,
LCMS, Topeka, Kansas