The Blessing of Old Age

“Hope I die before I get old.” Those were the words sung by Roger Daltrey in 1965. The founding member of The Who was 21 at the time. At 72, he must not be old yet, because he has yet to die. Is getting old really that bad? Try telling that to Yuichiro Miura, who climbed Mount Everest at age 70. Or George Brunstad, who swam the English Channel at the same age. Naval officer Grace Hopper became the first female rear admiral on the United States Navy when she was 79. Margaret Haggerty was 84 when she ran a marathon on all seven continents.

Many of the heroes of the Bible did their best work in old age. Moses was 80 when he led the Israelites out of Egypt. Abraham was 100 when his son was born and Jacob was 90 at the birth of his son. Noah was 120 when he started building the ark.

The Bible has much to say about old age. “Gray hair is a crown of glory” (Proverbs 16:31). “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days” (Job 12:12). “Even in your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you” (Isaiah 46:4). “They still bear fruit in old age” (Psalm 92:14).

The most godly man I know is 85. The most godly woman I ever knew was still blessing my family at 86. My pastor is almost 80. My best Sunday School teacher taught the Bible well into his 80s. God uses old people.

But when I think of the elderly, I think of Blanche. I wish I knew her last name. We only talked once. The year was 1975 and she was 93 at the time. On a Saturday morning, our youth group went to Blalock Nursing Home in Southwest Houston, where we sang to the senior adults. Blanche was among them. After one of our songs, she woke up, pointed her finger at me and said, “God is calling you to preach.” That was the totality of our lone conversation. Three days later, she died.

Does God use old people? God especially uses old people! Here’s your exercise for the day. Find someone old and call them, visit them, encourage them, thank them, and bless them. They are God’s greatest gifts, with wisdom and insight waiting to be unwrapped.

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