Rev. Dick Camp’s advice on life, track: ‘Be physically, spiritually fit’

M80 sprinter Dick Camp sent friends a Thanksgiving message with thoughts good all year ’round. He wrote from Stuttgart, Germany, where he was visiting his daughter (who talked about her Dad’s fight with Parkinson’s a year ago.) “Being thankful causes us to be reflective,” Dick wrote. “Now that I’ve reached 80, I’m looking back at some of the things that God has used to energize my spirit. On this Thanksgiving Day, as I glance through the rearview mirror of life, I’m reflecting on some of these disciplines, with the hope that they will encourage you.”

Dick ran at 2014 Penn Relays — two years after revealing his battle with Parkinson's disease.

Dick ran at 2014 Penn — two years after revealing his Parkinson’s disease.

Dick’s countdown:

8. Never Stop Learning.
I have spent my life as a pastor, a teacher of Jesus and the Scriptures. To be a teacher, I first have to be a student. I still read fervently about things I enjoy and things I should know. Keep your mind sharp. Exercise it. 

7. Love Extravagantly. 
Never stop learning about your spouse/partner. You grow and change, they grow and change. Make time to know them and love them as they are today with all their wrinkles and faults. If I performed your marriage ceremony, don’t screw it up. 

6. Practice Grace. 

Grace is not a blue-eyed blonde.  “Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.” Live graciously. Pray for more grace— God is extravagant! 

5. Be a Person Of Character.
At West Point, they teach the honor code, which says, “A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.”  We need to learn integrity in a way that is tangible to our flawed human nature. We need to exercise personal responsibility. At the end of our life, we aren’t accountable to our roommate or teammate but to God alone. Character is how we act when the world is watching — or when no one is watching.
4. Seek Counsel. 

Seek the counsel of wise, godly people. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15 

Be physically and spiritually fit. Keep your body in shape. You could be facing the Boston Marathon, a mountain in Afghanistan or Parkinson’s Disease. Whatever it is, be ready for it. One of my favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. I quote it often. It says, “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.”  It’s not about going out for a jog or beating the competition. It’s about making the effort to honor Jesus. 
2. Be a Relationship Builder 
Relationships are important. “Love your neighbor as yourself — give unto others — love each other as Christ loved the church’… The Bible and all religions are deeply rooted in relationships. The first is with our Creator, the second is with ourselves, the third is with those around us. Cherish your best friends; love the rest. Encourage, strengthen, build them up.

1. Practice Thankfulness
Say “thank you” more often. Live a life of thanksgiving every day.

I am thankful for you, my friends and family, on this my 80th Thanksgiving morning. 

And likewise, Dick. Thanks for sharing this!

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November 26, 2016

5 Responses

  1. Bob Cedrone - November 26, 2016

    Here is my list:

    1. Be more like Rev Dick Camp.

    That’s it. Amen.

  2. Jerry Huhn - November 27, 2016

    So right on!!!! Jerry Huhn, a Pastor also, 76 years old.

  3. William Bittner - November 27, 2016

    All good advice from the “Good Reverend” I ran with Dick in that 2014 Penn Relays. We sat and talked while waiting to register. A fine gentleman.

  4. Roger Pierce - November 28, 2016

    Rev. Dick Camp…is the very best!!

  5. Burr Daly - November 28, 2016

    Dick, you are a gentleman and a man of God and of the people. I also had the privilege to be in the Penn Relays race pictured. I asked how he was doing that day and reminded him we had chatted at the 2009 Senior Games at Stanford. Keep up the good work.

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