Published by Barnabas International • PO Box 11211 • Rockford, IL 61126 • Volume XVI • No. 9 • September 2002
LEE HOTCHKISS, Executive Director <> LAREAU LINDQUIST, Founder
There was a surprising article in the newspaper the other day about a remote tribe of people that considered individuals aged 85-91 to be middle-aged. I could hardly believe it; in fact, I seriously wondered if the reporting was accurate or not. I want to talk to you about age and aging. Don't set this aside without reading it, maybe thinking that it doesn't apply to you. Each of us is aging. In fact we are all aging at the same pace . . . one day at a time . . . one hour at a time . . . one moment at a time.
FIRST, A WORD TO MY POST-FIFTY AGED FRIENDS
Moses has always been an inspiration to me. He was eighty years old when he received his major ministry assignment from the Lord. Then, and still today, I am impressed with the manner in which some people approach old age with vigor, anticipation, and expectation. Such individuals are amazingly productive. We Christians are stirred by the ministries of Billy Graham, George Beverly Shea, and Bill Bright . . . who have served the Lord for decades and still, while in their eighties, have active ministries. Pope John Paul II, at age 82, continues to travel the globe in ministry. One of my most vigorous board members and friends is Peter Stam, dynamically alive, alert, and inspiring. I often tell him that I hope to be physically, mentally, and spiritually active like him when I, too, am in my mid-eighties. Ann Landers, world-famous columnist . . . always worked at least several weeks ahead of schedule, just died at 82. Art Linkletter was interviewed by Larry King on television the other evening. It was a part of Art's 90th birthday celebration. He shared a part of his secret. He is always involved in projects and plans for the future. He is optimistically excited about living. Until God calls him home, he assumes that there is something for him to be and to do.
NOW A WORD TO MY PRE-FIFTY AGED FRIENDS
I have a book in my library by Ted. W. Engstrom, entitled THE MOST IMPORTANT THING A MAN NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT THE REST OF HIS LIFE. In the opening line of his introduction to the book he tells us what it is . . . what you will be . . . you are now becoming. That is simple yet profound. Let me state it in other words . . . This day is shaping your future days. And . . . today shapes tomorrow. It is possible to be preparing for the future . . . physically, mentally and spiritually. Today really does matter. Rip Van Winkle flippantly said, This one doesn't count. But he was wrong. Everything matters. It all counts in shaping tomorrow and tomorrow's tomorrow.
FINALLY, A WORD FOR ALL OF US
Obviously it is possible to grow old optimistically and graciously. Engstrom, in his book, urges us to not give in to anger, fear, and resentment about the aging process. Rather, he wisely tells us to embrace aging with acceptance and thankfulness because this will lead us to transformation.
The Scriptures speak to all of us, whatever our ages, with these universal words . . . Teach us to number our days . . . . Redeem the time . . . . The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. (Psalm 90:12, Ephesians 5:16, Psalm 92:12-14).
Robert Browning, in RABBI BEN EZRA, penned these words:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made;
Our times are in His hand
Who said, "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half;
Trust God: see all, nor be afraid."
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