What's so good about turning old? - Hope 103.2

What’s so good about turning old?

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsSunday 1 Dec 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsCultureReading Time: 0 minutes


I’ve heard people say “old age is not as good as it’s supposed to be”. Well,it’s a fact that we are each getting older,and God willing we will live to an old age before we die. I want to try and answer the question ‘what’s so good about turning old?’. There does come a time,of course,when the body starts to slow down. You might know what I mean. You can’t do what you used to do. We can try and prevent that from happening and do what we can. One doctor said we can do something by how well we look after our arteries and our attitudes. Our mental state does play a vital role in keeping the body going – no doubt about that. There’s never been a time in the history of our world when so much attention has been given to the care of the body. Everywhere you look there is advice on looking after ourselves .. we’re told we owe it to ourselves to lose weight,eat the right food,and take enough exercise. Yes,that’s good advice. No matter what we do we can’t avoid the inevitable – we will age and turn old. We can’t stop it happening.

At his 80th birthday party to honour the great playwright & novelist,Somerset Maugham began his speech “There are many great virtues  in getting old – ” and there was a pause until he said “I’m trying to think what they are”. . So what’s good about getting old? You know you’re getting old when almost everything hurts,and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work anymore.  Earlier societies treated their aged friends and family with great respect ..they looked to them for wisdom and advice ..they honoured their fathers and mothers,and built extra rooms in their own homes to give them dignity and a home. But today is a different story. We put our loved ones in a nursing home and sometimes they are left to spend their remaining days alone,unhappy and feeling rejected. How terrible it is to see some older people unwanted and rejected by their family. It must be the worst kind of rejection.

The Bible has some words about old age. The Psalmist in Psalm 71 cried out “Don’t throw me aside when I am old; don’t desert me when my strength is gone” (v9). And in v18 he prayed “Don’t leave me when I am old and my hair turns grey”.

But the wonderful fact is that age doesn’t matter to God. He can use you regardless of how old you might be .. He uses the young,middle aged and the older generation.

The Old Testament tells stories of old people who were allowed to have children – God performed miracles for them to accomplish his purpose. The stories of Abraham and Sarah,Zechariah and Elizabeth for example. When you follow Him,age is no barrier at all. God still has a purpose for us – the trick is knowing what that purpose is and going after it.

You may have read Robert Browning’s statement “Grow old with me . The best is yet to be. The last of life,for which the first was made,Youth shows but half; trust God see all,nor be afraid”. With your hand in God’s hand,old age is nothing to fear for He is in control of your life all the way! Life does not have to finish at 65 ..take for example Thomas Edison who patented his last invention at 81. Jessica Tandy won her Oscar for best actress when she was 80. If you think God has finished with you just because you reach retirement age,think again. The French call this stage of life the “3rd age”. I think the most important thing to do is not become bitter as some do. That’s not really helpful. That’s a backward step. Solomon had written books of the Bible ..Song of Songs,Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. And if you read Ecclesiastes,much of this comes from a bitter heart. He was a bitter,angry old man who had lost the joy of life. When we have lived a whole life of Christian faith from youth upwards,we shouldn’t end it in despair and unhappiness. Rather let’s end in hope and joy,rejoicing to see what God has done in us and through us,passing our faith and example onto the younger generation who are looking at us.

It was Shakespeare who famously said “All’s well that ends well”. It’s true. Getting old is not the end,but an opportunity to be an example of goodness and peace to others. God still has something special for us to do even in old age.

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William Barclay has said in his writings that we need not fear the on going years because they bring us nearer,not to death,but to God and other people. And that’s also true.

Sir William Mulock was the Chief Justice in Canada. And when he celebrated his 90th birthday he said “I am still at work with my face to the future ..the shadows of evening lengthen but the morning is still in my heart. The best of life is further on ..hidden from our eyes beyond the hills of time”.

PRAYER: Lord,you have led us through the days and years. Show us your purpose for our lives so that as the years advance,we will not become stale and bitter. Thankyou that Your love for us never ends.