Ten months ago we started an amazing weekly journey of senior citizens in the Bible. Let’s take a few minutes to see what we saw about them.
We found not one, but two, aged couples who became first-time parents: Abraham and Sarah from the Old Testament, and Zacharias and Elizabeth in the New Testament. I sure hope God was gracious enough to not give them colicky babies. God obviously had great plans for these two boys: Isaac and John the Baptizer.
Jacob/Israel definitely knew how to twist a blessing in its time. First to his advantage, then in Joseph’s sons’ blessings. God was in it both times.
Israel’s reunion with Joseph in Egypt was one for the memory bank. The family secret held by ten brothers was broken before Dad’s life ended.
Joseph displayed God’s grace so beautifully when his brothers’ guilt resurfaced after their father died. Just goes to show how long a grudge doesn’t need to be carried.
His faith showed when he made his brothers swear to take his bones back “home” before he died. Moses made sure that promise was kept.
Moses was surprised to be called back into the game after being sidelined for 40 years. That 80-year-old still had many years ahead of him for God’s work.
Joshua led the nation well as they entered the land promised to Abraham many generations previously.
Caleb stepped up in his mid-80’s to claim the best of the land to kick out those punk giants who lived in what would later become the nation’s capital.
Eli, after failing to pass God’s truths down to his sons, was given a second chance with Samuel given to him by a grieving woman.
Samuel would be responsible for setting up the first two kings of God’s struggling nation. He lived to see Saul’s failure, but not David’s success.
David needed to be pushed into action in his late life. First to choose a spot for the temple, then to declare Solomon as his successor.
Daniel’s devotion to God couldn’t be altered even with the threat of death.
Simeon and Anna’s faith was rewarded by a simple glimpse of the Messiah as an infant. It was enough for them.
Nicodemus’ questions led to a firm commitment of Jesus’ Messiah-ship when he helped bury our Lord’s corpse.
Three Apostles’ final letters revealed a deep love for those they shepherded into God’s kingdom. I hope we carry that tradition onward.
I have a few observations to give as we close this time of respecting our elders.
- The word retirement never shows up in scripture. I couldn’t find anybody who was told to save up for a life of leisure near the end of their life. On the contrary, many people were surprised to be called into action when they thought they were past their prime and of no use to anybody.
- David was the only king of Judah or Israel who did anything of significance in his later life. Most of them died before reaching an age to be qualified as a senior citizen. This was during a time when old age was considered a sign of God’s blessing on a person, especially a good leader.
- God gave many people a second chance in their later life, even when they didn’t deserve it. Most of them took full advantage of that chance to make a significant difference through the one they mentored into the next generation.
- The negligence of some leaders to pass God’s commandments down held grave consequences for those who followed. Once the tribes scattered out to their section of land Joshua never brought them together to do as Moses told him so they would remember God’s laws. Solomon’s failure can be traced to David’s failure.
- Finishing strong for God is a rare occurrence. Too few held God’s heart and laws to the end of their life. Those who did are still held in the highest respect, as they should be. Joseph, Moses and Daniel are the old Testament examples. The apostles who had the Holy Spirit’s supernatural power are a few more.
So, what do we do with what we’ve seen?
To use a sailing metaphor: make a course adjustment to avoid any impending disaster.
You may have neglected your children on the altar of work/career as they matured into adulthood. Perhaps they’ve chosen lives that displease God. Love them with all you’ve got. Maybe they’ll see the change in you and make their own course adjustment. If not, find another young life to invest yourself into. It’s never too late to do the right thing. Future generations depend on us to help them avoid disaster.
If you gave Jesus control of your life later in life then give Him your all. He wrote the Bible and preserved it so well so we can read it as His love letter to His children. Hold it with that much importance in your life. Use it as your guidebook to live by. It won’t steer you wrong.
Develop an accountability group to hold you true to God’s laws. It’s too easy to slip into sin when you think nobody is watching you. So, make sure you have others watching you as you promise to do for them. It’s the best way I know of to finish strong for God.
Pass on the life lessons you’ve learned in printed words. Blogging is a good way to record what you want to say to others. Tell them what you wish someone had told you. Record what you learn as you read the Bible. If you’re uncomfortable with computers then write a journal in pencil or pen. Your legacy may be preserved in marvelous ways for others to benefit from.
As long as you have breath in your lungs God has a purpose for you to be alive. If you find yourself so bed-ridden you can’t do any of the other suggestions I’ve offered you can still pray. A conscious thought is all it takes to carry on a conversation with God.
Finish strong for God even if all you can do is think.
I’ll see you later. Wade