Growing Old Godly

People are funny about growing old. They don’t want to get old but they do want to get old (not die young). Douglas MacArthur is credited as saying, “Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair … these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.”
Since the time of the psalmist the average lifespan of man has hovered around 70 or 80 years (Psalm 90:10). But how we grow old is far more important than how old we grow.

1. 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. And hopefully the younger will have just enough wisdom to listen.

2. God wants us to grow old righteously. “A gray head is a crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31). God bless the older man or woman who, day by day, grows more closely into the likeness of Christ.

3. God wants us to grow old serving Him. Luke tells us of Anna who, at the age of 84 “never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers” (Luke 2:37). Someone once said, “All I can do is pray.” All I can do? My how we underestimate prayer!

4. God wants us to grow old trusting Him. God promised to His people “Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; and I will bear you and I will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4).

 


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Brad Fry
Tolar Church of Christ
Tolar, Texas

January 15, 2003