Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Godliness in Old Age

Warren Vanhetloo, a retired seminary professor now in his 80's, shares these good thoughts about living for God in old age.

"Old age enables us to spend long days alone with the person we've been shaping all our lives. That one who walked and talked with God throughout a busy day finds that he now has long periods of uninterrupted fellowship, joys of various sorts in contemplations of past, present, and future. His inner voice does not crack as he sings the old hymns of the faith. He can send up a prayer at any time for any sort of request. His life is full and blessed. Yes, his life is excellent.

"One who griped and complained through the years will find much more to complain about in the declining years of body and mind. More things other people do now cause greater reaction than through previous years.
Irritating sounds become even more irritating. Nothing becomes less irritating; more things cause irritation. Life becomes increasingly more difficult to endure to the end.

"The declining years are not always all we had expected. One who loves to travel and looks forward to visiting several places after retirement finds instead that the body is not up to the rigors. Travel is more pain than pleasure. One who looked forward to spending hour after hour reading unexpectedly finds that his eyes no longer can stand steady reading for more than an hour or two. For many, old age is living in a different type of world.

"The aging process affects everyone differently. There is a marked difference in the way people who are devoted to God enter old age. They get sweeter. Any church is greatly blessed to have senior saints who are fully devoted to God in their old age. Others can see the glory of God in their kindness and patience and humility. Will you be devoted in your old age?

"It doesn't happen automatically. You don't turn 65 and retire and become devoted to God. As we age, we just become more of who we already are. If you are not devoted now, you won't be devoted later. If you want to finish your life devoted to God, live a faithful devoted life now. Be committed to prayer and God's word and serving in Christ's church.

"When we have the strength and stamina, we can take care of things ourselves. But there may come a time when we can't do what we used to do; when we can't drive our car anymore; when we can't keep up the home we are living in.

"What do you do then? Well, if you have been depending on God each day, that's what you continue doing. God is no different; He just has different lessons.

"Those who are older, because of their closeness to eternity, have a clearer vision of true values. Simeon had been told that he would not die before seeing the Lord's Christ (Messiah), and so he waited, and looked for and expected the arrival of the Messiah (Luke 2:26). Picture him, visiting the temple wondering, "is this the day." "I'm getting old, Lord. My joints are hurting; I get tired so easily. It's not so easy climbing these steps to the temple." Younger folks walk past him quickly. He seems to be in the way of people who have somewhere to go. He sits down in the midst of many people in the temple, but his thoughts aren't there. He's seen much of life. He has seen fads come and go. He's been to many weddings. He's been to many funerals. Many of his contemporaries are dead. He knows he is on the threshold of eternity. So he is looking beyond this world. His values are different. He knows there are things more important than money and possessions, than clothes and beauty, than popularity and good times.

"Many churches have been blessed with numerous senior saints devoted to God in their old age. They stand on the threshold of eternity, living with a daily dependence on God, thereby testifying to the truth of His Son. Such senior saints who are devoted to God in their old age are not prejudiced.
They have seen that people are people no matter their background, and that God loves all. Jesus came to be the Savior of all men.

"We are blessed to have such seniors in our midst. We are honored by their presence. We don't always recognize the treasure God has placed with us.
We would be wise to get to know better these senior saints who are devoted to God in their old age. You will surely be blessed to invite them to your home or to visit them.

"God has a place of service for everyone who is devoted to Him, no matter your age. But this is especially true for senior saints. God has a place of service for each senior saint. Even by the way they live their life they are testifying to truth. God has placed in our midst some senior saints, fully devoted to God in their old age, who have a clear vision of values because of their closeness to eternity and who are living daily with a dependence on God. Our senior saints who have been walking with Jesus in this life have grown accustomed to His presence. They know that only by knowing Jesus Christ can a person have peace concerning death and eternity."

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