I’m Older, but not Old…
Remember when you were 9 ½, in a hurry to get into double digits? Well, it happened--and kept on happening. Now, having celebrated my eightieth birthday, I recognize the limitations of being older. However, I refuse to be old. What’s the difference?
In our youth-obsessed culture, old relegates you to a spot on the has-been shelf. What could you possibly contribute to today?
This is not the point of view around the globe! In Japan, where only one out of two hundred people identify themselves as a Christian, attitudes toward the elderly are much more biblical. There, the aged are more apt to enjoy respect. Leaders are often selected on the basis of age. The oldest becomes the president of the organization; the next oldest takes the vice-president spot.
Not that this attitude toward age is always a good idea. In multi-generational households, often the demented mothers-in-law are still in charge, sadly promoting stress-related suicides among their daughters-in-law.
The number of candles on one’s birthday cake doesn’t equate to an expansion of discernment. Neither is length of years a guarantee of increased wisdom:
While our culture extolls the advantages of the young, the Bible eulogizes the wisdom of the aged: “Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding.” Job 12:12
How can we, regardless of the number of laps around the sun, increase in wisdom?
Cherish understanding! “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; He who keeps understanding will find good.” (Proverbs 19:8, NKJV)
Listen well! Proverbs 17:28 (NKJV) Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive. (Proverbs 17:28, NKJV)
Live righteously! “The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, And his tongue talks of justice.” (Psalms 37:30, NKJV)
Don’t criticize! “He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, But a man of understanding holds his peace.” (Proverbs 11:12, NKJV)
Take advice! “By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10, NKJV)
Even though I am looking forward to Heaven, I am not in a hurry to leave. Each morning I awake I rejoice in the privilege of God’s gift of a brand new day to invest in glorifying Him and extending His kingdom. God knows when it’s time for me to head Home. No need for me to speculate the time of my departure.
Meanwhile, as long as I live on this side of Heaven, I aim, like John Wesley to "Do all the good [I] can, by all the means [I] can, in all the ways [I] can, in all the places [I] can, at all the times [I] can, to all the people [I] can, as long as ever [I] can."