The eye doc looked at me with a smile and reported that the issue was more common in people ‘of your age.’ It’s a phrase I have heard in one form or another more frequently, as one would expect. I, too, am well aware of my 67 years: diminished physical strength, less stamina, looking carefully at a menu knowing that if I eat ‘that’ my digestive system will exact a cost for the rest of the night. When asked how am I sometimes I use a tired joke in reply – “Every day on this side of the sod is a good one.”
People tend to hate aging, don’t they? America’s youth culture creates stereotypes of aging that are largely untrue; that “old” people are chronically ill, unable to work, behind the times, slow-thinking, useless financial burdens on society. The fact is that people over the age of 50 hold about 75% of the wealth, mostly own their homes, and are the largest voting bloc in the nation. Most community organizations rely on those over the age of 55 to volunteer and support their work. The most productive group in the workplace are those who are 50 and older. And yet, none of us is eager to experience the inevitable changes in our body that come with the years, are we?
For Christians who have the assurance of eternal life, the process of aging will loosen the grip on this present world on the heart and mind. If we are ‘in Christ’ as our bodies become less reliable our attention will naturally turn more fully to the spirit which is eternal, to the things that have value beyond today.
Psalm 90 is a plea for wisdom we all need, but especially those of us who have more past than future in this world. “The length of our days is seventy years— or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away … Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom … May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:10, 12, 17, NIV)
What fools we are if we pretend we are physically immortal, wasting time while drifting along year after year. We need not live in perpetual crisis fearing death, but we should pray that God will keep us aware of the passing days, so that we will live right, keep relationships whole, and invest ourselves in those things that are truly worthy.
The inspired words of James are even more pointed, a true challenge to live with God-awareness every day. He says “Look here, you people who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you will be boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” (James 4:13-17, NLT) Our greatest fulfillment is found in the center of the will of God. We experience His will if and when we make a daily offering of ourselves to Him.
Whose agenda is primary for you, Christian?
One of the tragic figures of the Scripture is King Solomon. God gifted him with great wisdom and amazing opportunities. His reflections near the end of his life reveal a man of regrets, a cynic whose cry is “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” He spent much of his life chasing pleasure and fame, only to realize that time would take those things from him. His accomplishments, even though remarkable, would be eclipsed by those of the next generation. His wealth would be left behind. Ecclesiastes is, to me, one of the saddest books of the Bible. He says “I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:17, NIV) What he intends us to understand is that the way he chose to live his life led him to that feeling! When I read that line, I pray to live differently.
The word from the Word is Solomon’s conclusion for living better, wisdom he embraced too late. Let’s learn from him and live this day so that we will end our lives more like Paul whose affirmation of hope and purpose challenges us. In his final days, he wrote to Timothy to affirm that “there is in store for me the crown of righteousness.” (2 Timothy 4:8) Wisdom says – “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”—”Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1, 13-14, NIV)
Build My Life (let this worship song speak to you today)
Worthy of ev’ry song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You
Jesus the name above ev’ry other name
Jesus the only one who could ever save
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You We live for You
Holy there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me
I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken
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