By John Ecob
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon…THEY SHALL STILL BRING FORTH FRUIT IN OLD AGE; THEY SHALL BE FAT AND FLOURISHING: to shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him (Psalm 92:12,14-15).
Old age is a very special time of life. Our youth is spent learning the basics. Everything is new and must be investigated.
We grow up and begin to accept responsibility as adults, as parents and employees. We provide for the material needs of our children and seek to equip ourselves for the daunting task of guiding them as they grow up in an ungodly world.
Through prayer and study of the Word of God we seek to equip ourselves and understand the will of God for our lives. And then the day comes when the young have flown from the nest and we have time to reflect. We look back at the past and remember all the things we could have done better; what we should have done, and what we can do to make amends.
Retirement from the workforce opens a new chapter. At last we have the time to do those things we should have done if we could have done them. Some look on retirement as a time when, like a race horse, they have finished their usefulness and have been put out into the back paddock to graze. But that is far from the truth.
When we attend school as a child we begin knowing nothing. We accept our first job without any experience. We begin parenthood with no knowledge of how to raise our children and we learn in the school of hard knocks.
But when we retire from the workforce we do so having been educated and having developed skills in the workplace. We understand our children and their special needs and are equipped to provide mature guidance to our grandchildren. Old age is the most fruitful time of our lives! For 65 years we have toiled, ploughed and sown and now it is time to be fruitful and reap!
The years of toil have taught us to trust God in every situation and our knowledge of God’s Word has grown so that we can teach the young. We can see the dangers that confront the young and can give Godly counsel.
Old age is the greatest time of service for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some Christians want to spend their years of retirement in pleasure and plan to waste those precious years in travel and vacations. The greatest source of joy for any believer is found in the service of Christ. Nothing is more satisfying than to be fruitful in the service of the One who loved us and gave Himself on the cross for us.
In fact I find that the Christians who are most active for the Lord are those who have retired. They have more time of course and while they have the physical strength, they give themselves to the work of God. That’s why the psalmist said:
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age (Psalm 92:14).
Many Christians have proved the truth of this Scripture. They take their daily walk and spread the Gospel message in the letterboxes of their suburb.
I think of my dear old Dad. He had a stroke at 75 years and lived to 93 years. He was paralized down one side but while ever he could take his daily walk he took a bundle of tracts and spread the glorious Gospel of Christ in the letterboxes of the streets near his home.
He used to say,
I don’t know why the Lord has left me here
but then one day he shared the Gospel with the lady who came to clean his unit and she fell on her knees and called on the Lord to receive her and save her. I said to Dad,
That’s why God has left you here. If for no other reason, God left you here to bring that lady to Christ.
Not all of us can be a preacher but like Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, Jesus said,
She hath done what she could.
It is up to each of us to do what we are able for the Lord. That’s all the Lord asks.
Old people can pray. In the hours of the night when sleep escapes us, we can remember our families in prayer. We can pray for those who serve the Lord. We can pray for our neighbours and those that God will bring across our path. Jesus told us to pray that the Lord of the harvest would thrust forth labourers into His harvest field. Pray that the tracts that go out into letterboxes will be read and hearts will be moved to seek the Lord.
Old people can be a blessing caring for the young. The Bible says that the older women are to teach the younger women and children. Grannys and Grand Dads can have a powerful influence on grandchildren in their formative years to instill reverence and trust in the Lord.
Some think it is a young people’s world but more than ever the Church needs mature, Godly leadership. Older men should not stand back and allow young men to replace them in the leadership of the local Church. God wants us to “bring forth fruit in old age!”