Age seems to be a tricky thing here in America and interesting enough, it starts at a very young age. When I was just five years old, if you would have asked me how old I was, I would have told you “five and a half.” If you had asked me at fourteen how old I was, I probably would have told you “almost sixteen.” But then things started to change somewhere in my thirties, and if you would have asked me at thirty-six how old I was, I would have no doubt answered “twenty-nine.” And twenty-nine it is!
That said, moving forward, as Will Rogers noted, “Eventually you reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.” And then there’s that shaky middle ground where Ashley Montage resided: “I want to die young at a ripe old age!” she’d quip. She lived to be 94, by the way. I just love these “oldies but goodies” – so young at heart. And so rare!
But seriously, growing older is not about decay, as some think; it’s about growth. Someone once asked this provocative question: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” It tackles your brain for a second, doesn’t it?! I think our ancestors were a little better at this aging thing than we are. These days it’s seen as a menacing threat to be avoided at all costs! But as I like to say, there are consequences to not having birthdays! I personally admire how Anna Magnani sees all this: “Please don’t retouch my wrinkles. It took me so long to earn them.”
I recently read about a study involving 50 people all over the age of 95 – collectively, they had over 5,000 years of life experience. The survey consisted of just one question: “If you had your life to live all over again what would you do differently?” The results were fascinating, but four replies showed up over and over. One: risk more. Two: reflect more. Three: Do more things that live on after you die, and four – enjoy the journey! Life is pretty much what you make it, isn’t it?! I have to smile at good ol’ Andy Rooney’s statement on age: “I didn’t get old on purpose; it just happened. If you’re lucky, it could happen to you.”
Job 12:12 tells us that “Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.” The older you get, the wiser you should be. Gary Small, who studies seniors, notes that, “They develop a greater perspective of what’s important and the ability to problem-solve is streamlined after years of practice.” That’s pretty cool, actually – it’s accumulated knowledge from gained experience. You can’t buy that! And as George Burns commented, “By the time you’re 80 years old you’ve learned everything. You only have to remember it.” Always the funny guy!
The Bible presents growing old as a natural part of life, and studies have shown that most seniors have become more adaptable and flexible, plus have a greater understanding of their own resilience. Priorities have shifted in a healthy way as true and honest issues come into focus. Wisdom has crept in!
Getting older is a blessing from the Lord and we should never shy away from it. I believe Christian seniors have a responsibility to share wisdom and knowledge with generations, not live out their days in front of the TV set watching Fantasy Island or Let’s Make a Deal. As someone once noted: “It’s not how old you are. It’s how you are old.” We should always remember that we are still alive for a reason! Job 32:7 tells us, “Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.”
We need wise people who remember the true cost of fighting a war for freedom! We need people who are wise enough to remember the blessings of a patriotic and God-honoring America! We need people of wisdom who know why it’s important to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at our schools. We need people with wisdom who understand God made only two genders on this earth! And we need people wise enough who understand how vital it is to tell the truth – no matter what!
I always remind people that we are a spirit who has a soul and we live in a body. When we speak of age, it’s only in regard to our “earth-suits” – those are timestamped. We are essentially – ageless – since age (as we know it) has nothing to do with our spirits and souls. This life is so brief – a breath really – please use it wisely!
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you can visit them at DPCityChurch.com.
Susan Beckett | Dwelling Place City Church
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