Off on retreat for 4 days from Monday, so probably no new posts here till next weekend. This mornings reading was 2 Kings 20, on Hezekiah, and I drew from some of the good things we were taught on the Arrow Leadership course about 'finishing well'.
So many OT leaders seem to fall away towards the end of their lives. I can only think of Daniel, Moses and Elisha who don't go noticeably downhill. Most of them manage to achieve something great, and then fall apart. Hezekiah doesn't fall apart in any spectacular fashion, but having achieved a lot in his first 14 years as king, he becomes vain, complacent and self-indulgent in the second half of his reign.
I'm well aware of the drop in adrenaline and energy levels after climbing some major work-related mountain. It's hard to press on, easier to stop and enjoy the view, or to live off the self-congratulation for as long as you're able.
The Arrow folks talked about various ways of losing the plot:
burn out: speaks for itself
level out: plateauing spiritually, rather than carrying on growing in grace and Christlikeness
spread out: losing focus and dabbling in things which are of secondary importance
drop out: falling into sin, or just forgetting why you're doing it in the first place, often with loss of faith thrown in.
It's easy as a young Christian to think, 'that'll never happen to me', but at roughly the age when Hezekiah started going downhill (though hopefully I'll not develop life-threatening boils, as he seems to have done), I can easily see all of these as potential dangers. Which makes it all the more important to go on retreats. TTFN.