The BlackBerry became obsolete last month. Not the fruit — the handheld mobile device favored by technology adopters for a dozen years or so at the beginning of this century. Just eight years ago, there were 85 million users worldwide. But the advent of Android and Apple devices took the market by storm. On January 4 of this year, the proprietary platform was turned off, and the BlackBerry was no more.

It may be that the BlackBerry company rested on its laurels and didn’t adapt to new technology, thinking it would always be relevant. Like the buggy-whip carriage industry before it that faced the invention of the automobile, that industry forgot it was in the transportation industry, not the horse-drawn wagon business. It may be that BlackBerry forgot it was in the personal communication industry, not the BlackBerry business. 

I’ve been thinking about the BlackBerry development in light of my announced retirement from the pastorate just two days afterward. It’s a reminder that time waits for no one, and change is the nature of reality. Whether we’re ready or not, time marches on, and sooner or later our time is up.

Whether life itself, careers or parenting, life is full of transitions. It’s best if we know that every step of the way and continue to grow day by day.

Every seven years or so, cellular mitosis completes a cycle in our bodies making us new people, whether we know it or not. If we understand what’s happening and accept it as the way we are made, we can adapt with the times and thrive through them. Embracing transition with enthusiasm for what comes next, rather than regret for what was, is a strategy we are wise to lean into. 

I am grateful for what has been in my calling. The church I have served has changed over the more than three decades I served it. I changed with it. It’s the same church, yet different. I am the same person, yet different, too. Thank God on both accounts. 

Someone told me years ago that we should all prepare for the next chapter of our lives before the end of the one we are writing now. Professionally and personally, it’s smart to have something to go to, not just something to go from. I have tried to follow that counsel. I am a minister for life, but I have been a pastor for only a season of it. I have more to do and am excited about what’s next. 

The poet Robert Browning wrote these memorable lines: “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!” 

Someone has counted the times the words “do not be afraid” occur in the Bible in one form or another — 365. 

Apparently, we need to be reminded at least once a day.

 


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