My mom will be 89 years old in a few months. She has repeatedly told me, “I don't like getting old!” What she is referring to is the physical limitations that go along with aging. She still “thinks” a lot younger than her age.
I thought she might enjoy Billy Graham's perspective on aging, so recently I got her his New York Times bestseller (2012) Nearing Home. I am presently reading it (she did enjoy it and it has helped her get a bigger perspective about aging, I think). His insights in a lot of different areas make this book worth the read for anyone planning on living any length of time.
“All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how I ought to live in the years before I die.” He quoted whoever said it first — “Old age is not for sissies!” Even at my age, I am beginning to feel my body not wanting to keep up with my “agenda” many days.
Some seem to be blessed with more physical stamina and health than others, but we must all accept the truth that these bodies are not going to live forever (thank goodness, we get to trade this one in for a glorified model after we transition to the eternal life promised to us as believers).
But his insights go far beyond just accepting and dealing with the physical limitations that go along with aging. He gives numerous examples, both from the Scriptures as well as close associates who have lived long lives and continued to contribute to mankind in whatever way they possibly could.
Some, like Moses, Joshua, Abraham were supernaturally sustained to fulfill their God-given mission which really began in their latter years. Graham says: “Old age may have its limitations and challenges, but in spite of them our latter years can be some of the most rewarding and fulfilling of our lives.”
Graham, himself, has had more time to write as well as be a support for some of the younger generation who need his insights and understanding.
He quotes an unknown source: “Don't resent growing old. Many are denied the privilege.” He states: “When granted many years of life, growing old in age is natural, but growing old with grace is a choice. Growing older with grace is possible for all who will set their hearts and mind on the giver of grace, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
My mom is a real prayer warrior and has been all of her Christian life. Although prayer can be “work” as far as a time commitment, it is not usually hard physically. As I stated a few weeks ago, if we had any idea the power that our prayers of faith carry, we would spend time developing our faith and be more willing to use our time interceding for the needs of others. She is realizing just how valuable her prayer times can be in affecting the lives of others.
Another good friend, who is one of my heroes, just turned 80. She is another one who is not allowing her age to slow her down. Where she may be more limited energy-wise, she is using her time, talents and passions to make a difference in her different spheres of influence.
She just took on a new assignment that will involve a lot of time and commitment, but is doing enthusiastically, knowing that this effort will have eternal value.
The word “retirement” is not used in the Bible, except for the Levites who were required to retire at age 50, so the younger generation would have the opportunity to serve the Lord, too.
We may change what we are doing when we are no longer working our vocation, but that does not mean we have to sit on the couch everyday and be bored or play golf eight (ha) days a week to fill all our spare time.
There are so many meaningful volunteer opportunities just waiting to be filled by those who have time and the willingness.
Let's all commit to finishing our lives well.