Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life. [Proverbs 16:31 (NLT)]
One of the reasons I like living in southwest Florida is that it makes me feel young! Well, not exactly young but at least not as old since there’s always someone around who is older than me! That they frequently inspire me with their spirit and energy is an added benefit! Although most of us Florida seniors are officially retired, God doesn’t have a retirement clause in His contract with us nor does He put us out to pasture just because we’re collecting Social Security. Way older than any of us, He’s not sitting idly back on His heavenly rocking chair taking a well-deserved rest and He doesn’t expect us to do so either!
I always figured that menopause was given to women because God knew if women my age had babies, we’d probably put them down somewhere and forget where we left them! Yet, God blessed Zechariah and Elizabeth with a baby when both were over sixty! I know several seniors who, for a variety of reasons, have assumed the role of parent for their grands or great-grands. At a time in their lives when they expected to sit back and relax, they are dealing with everything from diapers to teen-aged angst, carpooling to algebra, and science projects to play dates. Their blessings have come with a great many challenges but, like Zechariah and Elizabeth, they are doing the job God set before them.
Daniel was over 80 when he faced those lions, Abraham was 75 when God called him to leave Haran for the land of Canaan, and Isaiah served as God’s prophet for 60 years before being executed during Manasseh’s reign. Moses was eighty and Aaron eighty-three when given the task of speaking to Pharaoh. For forty more years, Moses led the Israelites while Aaron served as his second in command. Joshua may have been an active forty-year-old when he explored the land of Canaan but he was eighty when he led the Israelites across the Jordan into the Promised Land.
Age didn’t stop Joshua and it shouldn’t stop any of us from leading others to God’s Promised Land. In spite of his Parkinson’s disease, legendary evangelist Billy Graham conducted crusades until he was 87 and published the last of his 33 books at the age of 97. In the nine years of his papacy, Pope Francis has visited over 50 countries. Last year, in spite of health issues, the 85-year-old journeyed to Iraq, Greece, Cyprus, Slovakia, and Budapest. When 87-year-old Charles Stanley stepped down as senior pastor of Atlanta’s First Baptist Church, he said he didn’t believe in retirement so now he’s dedicating all of his energy to In Touch Ministries. “I just to want to be used to the maximum of my potential through the last day of my life,” said Dr. Stanley. “I can’t even see myself retiring because I have a message, and I can’t wait to tell it to the whole world.”
God doesn’t stop assigning work just because we’ve reached a certain age and old age is never an excuse for not doing what God calls us to do. Granted, physical infirmities may keep us from some jobs, as did Parkinson’s for Reverend Graham, but they’re no excuse for not serving the Lord. There is much we have to offer our church and community, with experience and time being our most valuable assets.
In spite of what the media would have us believe, it is not a sin to grow old. There’s nothing shameful about wrinkles, arthritis, artificial hips, age spots, gray hair, double chins, hearing aids, walkers, or sagging body parts. The sin is not in old age; it is in not making the most of the years with which God has blessed us. Let us continue to flourish and bear fruit until the day God brings us home.
Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t. [Richard Bach]