Joshua 13:1 When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.”
My parents are old. Last fall, my mom made 80 and my dad, well, he’s headed towards 90. He’s actually 86. You can’t sugarcoat these numbers, they are way up there. And there’s no dancing around it, they are well past their prime. Their old. And they know it, they aren’t trying to deny the obvious, they accept their reality.
I guess I would have to say, they look old too. But it’s crazy how they are still just mom and dad to me, forever stuck at the very age I am now! I just don’t see them for the old people they have become. After all, they are not the kind to sit at home in rocking chairs reminiscing about days gone by. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, it’s just not mom and dad.
My mom, she may look fragile, but I don’t see her that way. She’s tiny but fierce and maintains a sass that is sharp. And my dad, well, I challenge anyone 45 and above to keep up with him on a bike; he’s crazy, that man! They are youthful, and like many seniors, young at heart.
But one thing I’ve noticed about my parents throughout this aging journey, they never stop serving the Lord. In fact, they look for ways to serve the body of Christ. No ministry or task is menial to them, they desire to be used.
And they don’t stop with just serving. They sit in church, Bible open, notebook out, pen in hand, ready to hear, learn and grow. You’d think after decades of walking with the Lord they’d feel quite satisfied with their wisdom and knowledge, and yet their not. They are hungry for more. They are striving to be changed from glory to glory. They cease every day to be a better version of their new creation that began long ago. It’s pretty cool.
We seem to live to reach the age of retirement. You know, when we are not a slave to the alarm clock and our days are free from order and structure. We’re surrounded by generations of grandchildren that would never be here had it not been for our existence. We look forward to the day when we are no longer paying into our pension but rather our pension is paying into us. We are told that those are the golden years. And golden they may be, but perhaps God has a different idea of our golden years.
Here’s the thing, nowhere on scripture does God mention retirement. Nowhere in scripture does old age disqualify us from ministry. Being a senior citizen doesn’t mean we are sidelined from Kingdom work. It’s simply not even a condisdersrion or thought. If you are a Believer, you will work for the Lord, serve Him faithfully, and continue to steadily grow in your faith until the day He takes you home. That’s life as a follower of Christ.
Sure there’s allowances for slowing down and scaling back but there’s no finish line. We don’t reach an age of “too old to be used” because there’s no such thing.
God announced the obvious, that Joshua was old. But He also made it clear, there was still much work for him to do. And God was calling on him, this very old man, to get it done.
We live in a time when seniors are often discarded. We warehouse them off into homes rendering them useless. And although circumstance may force on us difficult decisions with our loved ones, in general, society doesn’t seem to value the elderly.
But the reality is, seniors have extraordinary significance. Their knowledge, input and wisdom are unique and even powerful. What they offer to a younger, broken, disturbed generation is life altering. We need them. God’s called them. Let us help them finish their race strong because like us, they are still in it.
The golden years. A time when seniors are free of all inhibitions and restrictions to serve the Lord with all their heart, mind and strength. And shame on any church who keeps their seniors as spectators.