Getting Older

Getting Older

Dear Friends,

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and saw a friend suggestion for someone I knew from High School.  He was the starting quarterback and homecoming king and he dated the cheerleading captain and homecoming queen.  I sat there staring at his picture and I thought, “Wow, he really looks old.”  Then I remembered what I looked like in the mirror that morning!

We are preparing for Graduate Recognition this Sunday, May 23rd.  This type of service always makes me feel old.  I mean, most of these graduates were born in the 21st century (after the year 2000).  I was born fairly close to the middle of the 20th century.  That’s a little depressing!

The Bible presents growing old as a normal, natural part of life in this world. The Bible even attaches honor to the aging process, because growing old is normally accompanied by increased wisdom and experience. Proverbs 16:31 says “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” That’s actually becoming one of my favorite verses!   God wants us to remember that life is short and that the beauty of youth is soon gone according to 1 Peter 1:24, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall.”

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon provides an insightful look at aging and the issues related to it.  He tells us that we are born with a natural tendency to “live for the moment,” but ultimately there is futility in that approach.   As people grow older and begin to feel the increasing impact of their mortality, they typically try to invest their resources in projects that to them seem to hold more promise of lasting meaning in life, they want to leave a legacy.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict what will have lasting value and significance in the future. This, according to Solomon, can lead to disillusionment and despair when we realize the meaninglessness of our earthly toil “under the sun.” 

The book concludes with a charge to reject the wisdom of men and the pursuits of this life and to adopt an eternal perspective in the face of life’s brevity and injustice.  Why spend your life pursuing pleasure, wealth, success, wisdom, even religion?  What should we do? “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl. 12:13b).  The rest, God will take care of when He brings “every deed into judgement” (Eccl. 12:14a).

With our inevitable disillusionment over the human condition, our universal depravity and mortality, it is wise to remember that “Anyone who is among the living has hope…” (Eccl. 9:4a).  The living still have time to acknowledge God and to take joyful advantage of all their gifts, talents, wisdom, and opportunities in life, before all ability to do so has ceased, before death or disability closes the door on those opportunities.

Growing old is not so bad if we are engaged in our God-given purpose.  Of course, our purpose is only fulfilled in Christ, God’s promised Savior. While this earthly life may seem less fair for some than for others, at the final judgment, when we receive our inheritance for the way we invest what God has given us, we will see God as surpassingly fair in His rewards.

Mark Twain used to say, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”  God has made us who we are, placed us where we are and gifted us with the resources we have.  Our pursuit of purpose should always have Christ at the center regardless of our age.

Only by Grace!

Pastor Mike