As we grow older, we need to consider that “how” we grow old is far more important than how “old” we grow. The bible gives us a number of insights into growing old and how we are to live out our days in a house that is in decline.
…even to your old age, I am He, and to grey hairs, I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and I will save. (Isaiah 46:4)
God wants us to grow old wisely. Job said,
Wisdom is with aged men, with long life is understanding. (Job 12:12)
The lessons of hardship, success and failure we learn in life should be passed on to the younger generation (Psalm 71:17-18) and hopefully, the younger generation will have enough wisdom to listen (Proverbs 2:1-2).
God also wants us to grow old righteously.
The writer of Proverbs tells us,
The silver-haired head is a crown of glory if it be found in the way of righteousness. (Proverbs 16:31)
May God bless the older man or woman who, day by day, grows more and more into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15; Galatians 2:20).
God wants us to grow old in serving Him.
Luke tells us of the prophetess Anna who, at the age of 84,
….did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. (Luke 2:37)
A very elderly woman, reflecting on the many midweek meetings she could no longer attend once said to me, “At my age, all I can do is pray.” All I can do? What more could you do? What could be more valuable?
We can easily underestimate the power of prayer in our lives, but as Charles Spurgeon once said, if he ever found out his congregation had stopped praying for him he would stop preaching. Such is the high value placed on prayer by those who serve God.
Finally, God wants us to grow old trusting Him.
God promised His people that, “even to your greying years I shall bear you… and I shall carry you, And I shall bear you and I shall deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4).
May we have the same attitude and faith toward serving the Lord in our later years as Caleb did in his later years.
So here I am today, eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out.
Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said. (Joshua 14:10-12)
There are still hills to conquer and turf to capture for Christ. Perhaps that turf is a grandson, or the neighbour down the road, or an old friend, or the daily work of your local church. Perhaps your weapons are prayer, wisdom or a plate of baked beans.
But whatever that patch of turf may be, and whatever are the weapons of your warfare, it is the joy of the old and grey to go forth and capture another hill.