The Encouragement of Old Age
It’s easy enough to dismiss old age as just being ‘too difficult’. We have more and more physical ailments. But there is much that can encourage us as we grow older. Hopefully we are much more mature than when we were younger!
There is a certain ‘ripeness’ about being older. Some people grow old gracefully. That is, they are fully in the grip of the grace of God. Such people display a well-developed understanding about matters because they have had more time to reflect on particular life issues.
The Bible highlights the fact that spiritual ripeness should increase as we get older. Living with the intention of pleasing the Lord will bring wisdom.
Hopefully this can be seen to take place in any age but particularly for those who are older. In Psalm 92 we read: “The righteous flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon … They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green.”
This is a bit like runners in a distance race or like jockeys in a horse race. They always try to keep something in reserve for the final sprint. So, my contention is that running the last lap of our Christian life should be a sprint indeed. As the wise Bishop Thomas Ken wrote in a hymn in 1674 “Live each day as if thy last”. The older we get, the more important it is to apply wisdom to all that we do. Here are some thoughts that emerge from this truth.
First, live for God one day at a time. Whatever long-term plans we may have, let us be mindful of always glorifying God in what we do. Commit the day to the Lord. And in the evening reflect before God in confession and thanksgiving in the way you have used the day.
Second, live in the present moment. Get in to the way of practicing God’s presence. Cultivate the promise that Christ’s presence is always with us both for our encouragement as well as for our spiritual health.
Third, live ready to go when Christ comes for you. Jesus’ words to the faithful eleven are in fact a promise to all faithful disciples of every age: “In my Fathers’ house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.“ John 14:2-3.
What an encouragement it is to live with God’s blessings as we seek to live a life pleasing to the Lord. The Lord be with you!
Acknowledgements: Finishing Our Course With Joy by J.I. Packer, Crossway, 2014.