Thoughts on Getting Older…

When I was a young minister, a funeral director asked me to hold a grave side service for a homeless man with no family or friends. The funeral was to be at a cemetery way out in the country. This was a new cemetery and this man was the first to be laid to rest there. I was not familiar with the area and became lost. Being a typical man, of course, I did not ask for directions. I finally found the cemetery about an hour late. The backhoe was there and the crew was eating their lunch. The hearse was nowhere to be seen. I apologized to the workers for being late. As I looked into the open grave, I saw the vault lid already in place. I told the workers I would not keep them long, but that this was the proper thing to do. The workers, still eating their lunch, gathered around the opening.

I was young and enthusiastic and poured out my heart and soul as I preached. The workers joined in with, “Praise the Lord,” “Amen,” and “Glory!” I got so into the service that I preached one of my best sermons actually. When the service was over, I said a prayer and walked to my car. As I opened the door, I heard one of the workers say, “I never saw anything like that before and I’ve been putting in septic systems for twenty years.” (Fooled you didn’t I? I’ve presided at graveside services where no one was present except the funeral director, but never for a septic tank.)

Some Thoughts on the Perks of Aging:

  • There is nothing left anymore to learn the hard way.
  • Things that you buy now won’t wear out.
  • Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.
  • Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them anyway.
  • Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the guy on the television.
  • Your eyes won’t get too much worse.
  • You can eat dinner at 4:00 in the afternoon.
  • In a hostage situation you are the most likely to be released first.

An elderly couple went to dinner at the home of some friends, also elderly. After dinner, the wives went into the kitchen and the two men were talking. One said, “We went out to dinner last night at a really good restaurant. I’d highly recommend it.”

The second man said, “What’s the name of it?”

The first man thought and thought, then said, “What’s the name of that flower you give to someone you love, the one that is usually red that has thorns?”

“Oh, you mean a rose?” said the second man.

“Yes, that’s it,” said the first man. Then he called to the kitchen, “Rose, what’s the name of that restaurant we went to last night?”

Some more thoughts (more serious) on aging: Recognize that aging is normal and that your response to it is part of God’s sanctifying work in your life. Aging is a part of the “all things” of Roman 8:28.

Either you manage it or it manages you. We must learn to become a steward of our aging (like a steward of our other resources) or aging will control us.

Keep the core of your life healthy and move the deterioration to the periphery. If our outer man is decaying and our inner man is being renewed daily, guess where I want my main investment to be? {2 Cor. 4:16 says “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”}

Develop new interests and get rid of old habits. It really is never too late to learn and you can certainly teach the old dog new tricks.

Accept you current realities and limitations. Don’t join the “used to” club and think more about what you used to do as to what you can do now. I can’t throw the shot put as far as I used to, but my focus is one throwing it as far as I can now within my current realities.

Develop long term friendships that are not based on your job or the fitness center.  You want friendships that are portable- that you can take with you or keep no matter where you go.

Be useful. Now is not the time to become selfish thinking you already gave and now it’s your time to get. You are still parents to your kids and grandkids, and you can have a great influence on the younger folks  around you.

Make long range plans. When you die, you want found at your post, not sitting around thinking of all you intended to begin.

Enjoy this time of life and set an example for those who will soon follow of how a Christian properly grows old and deals with things beyond their control. Show them that you believe that nothing comes into your life without first passing through the Hand of your Heavenly Father. Don’t let them down.

Remember that old age is a privilege often denied to many.