Throughout the Bible we see men and women who change directions, vocations and areas of service. Noah became a shipbuilder, ship captain, zoo master, preacher, and later a vineyard keeper. Moses grew up as a prince in Pharaoh's house, became a run-a-way criminal, then a sheep-herder, returned to Egypt as "The Voice of God" to deliverer His Children from oppression. Later, he became a master-organizer and administrator of several million fleeting captives on their way to freedom. Joshua, no less, wore many hats as Moses' assistant and then the leader of twelve tribes of unruly people who constantly challenged him and God. Guide, judge, mediator, spiritual leader, warrior, among other roles God passed on to him!
There are many other great examples of faith who wore different hats at different times in the Scriptures. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are good examples. (Fishermen who became preachers, teachers, writers, etc. Their gospels also introduce us to many others. Paul is one of them. A young scholar who became a radical, was a different person after the Damascus Road experience. He became an evangelist, preacher, singer, team leader on mission journeys, friend of jailers, foe of Jewish leaders among other authorities. His "closet must have been full of hats, for the list includes many more hats he wore. But in the final years, we see Paul as a letter writer, encourager to emerging churches and young pastors; we see him as an athlete that is ready for his final race, wearing 'not a hat, but a crown' that he earned through faith in Jesus Christ - the one he had served so faithfully since his 'new birth'.
Sondra and I are changing hats as well. Yep, as of September 16, we officially put on the "retirement hat'. We've reached that point where we need to step aside, hang up or pass on some of the hats we have been wearing for a long time. Some we will keep in our closet. We have been led to close a long chapter in our lives that has spanned some 50 years (for me), and begin a new phase of living in "retirement". (Whatever that means)! Well, for one thing, it will mean setting the alarm for 6:00 AM instead of 5:00; it means spending more time together in the last years, enjoying sharing experiences we both enjoy; it means spending more time with our son (Wes) and his family (Patricia and Callie). And it means finding new ways to minister to those around us. There is still a world in need around us; people are wandering through life, still. Just as in Isaiah's day, it seems they are "like sheep without a shepherd" and in great need of direction. So we will still be faithful to our call to the ministry, but allowing the Lord to direct us to minister in retirement years at a less hectic pace. There are still many homebound people, at home and in nursing home or assisted living areas to 'touch'. The call to "come, go, teach, preach, disciple...." is still in force. Who knows what 'hats' out there are waiting for us?
Abraham, Noah, Moses, Jacob, Paul and others had no idea what the next chapter in their lives would be; we are no different. But we know the "God of our past and present will be the same Lord of tomorrow". And so we go forth, trusting him step by step. Perhaps you need to change hats (or about to do so). Proverbs 3: 5-6 is the best advice you and I can have as we make such decisions.