Ever notice the only time in our lives we want to get old is when we are young? When you’re under 10 years of age you think in fractions: “I’m four and a half.” You’re never 40 and a half. But you are four and a half going on five.
We can’t wait for life to get with it. We can’t wait to “get there.”
When you’re a teenager you say, “I’m almost 16.” You might be 12, but you’re gonna be 16.
Then you become 21! An unbelievable achievement you thought would never happen. But it did and so you celebrate and others join you because that’s quite an accomplishment. You’re 21!
Then you turn 30. Uh-oh. Something happened. Where did the years go? How do I stop what’s happening to my body. I’m starting to feel things I didn’t feel before and I don’t recover like I use to. Then you’re pushing 40. Blink your eyes and you reach 50.
Don’t look now, but you just made it to 60. And then without warning or fanfare, you hit 70 and the clock appears to be ready to jump to light speed.
We can’t wait to “get there.” But once we do, we realize it came too fast and there’s nothing we can do now to slow it down.
Neal Jeffrey said, “During your lifetime, everything you do has a first attached to it: your first step, your first day at school, first date, first kiss, first job, first driver’s license, first time you say, ‘I love you.’ But as you get older, you will eventually do everything for the last time — work your last day before retirement, buy your last car, watch your last cooking show on TV. And finally, your heart will beat one last time. You will draw your last breath, and your family will book your last accommodations — in the cemetery. Here’s what I’m saying, “You only have so many days to leave a positive mark. That’s why every day is so precious. Don’t miss a day or an opportunity. Leave that mark today!” 1
Thom Rainer, former president of LifeWay Christian Resources, who is also a popular blogger, author and speaker, recently did a podcast addressing those who feel like they’ve gotten there. In other words, the older folks among us. Some people call them Boomers, others call them Senior Adults. Most I know wouldn’t want to be called old. But the fact is, once we're past 50 we have more life behind us than we have in front of us on this earth.
Thom talked about SIX THINGS I PRAY I WON’T DO AS A SENIOR ADULT IN MY CHURCH. Here was his list. Again, things he prayed he wouldn’t do:
1. Have an entitled attitude because of my giving to the church
2. Say “I’ve done my time"
3. Focus more on recreation than serving
5. Be more concerned about my preferences than the needs of others
6. Lose my zeal for evangelism 2
That’s a great list and I agree with every one of them. As we grow older we ought to be more on fire and more in love with JESUS because of all the years we’ve known Him, loved Him and lived for Him. We ought to be the greatest cheerleaders the church has and the best encouragers every generation behind us could possibly want.
Psalm 92:14 ought to describe us. “They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.” (NKJV)
No matter what age or stage in life we find ourselves, we ought to be bearing fruit (John 15:8), staying fresh, flourishing for the Lord and being a blessing to everyone who knows us.
Don’t let the idea of age keep you from being engaged. Dave Ramsey said, “George Burns won his first Oscar at eighty. Golda Meir was prime minister of Israel at seventy-one. Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel lying on his back on scaffolding at seventy-one. Colonel Sanders never fried chicken for money until he was sixty-five, and Kentucky Fried Chicken is a household name worldwide. Albert Schweitzer was still performing surgery in Africa at eighty-nine. It is never too late to start.” 3
We ought to be the greatest cheerleaders the church has and the best encouragers every generation behind us could possibly want.
It’s never too late to start. But remember Charlie Brown’s creator, Charles Schulz said, “Once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.”
Don’t waste time, effort or resources on the things that don’t matter. Focus on the things that do — the things of God. The goal is Heaven and one day hearing Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
We aren’t there yet. So let’s get to work!
© 2020. Barry L. Cameron
1 Jeffery, Neal. If I Can, y-y-You Can!: Giving All You've Got to Become All You Can Be. Sampson, 2009. Pg. 29-30.
2 Rusty, et al. “Six Things I Pray I Won't Do as a Senior Adult in My Church.” ThomRainer.com, 31 Dec. 2019, thomrainer.com/2019/12/six-things-i-pray-i-wont-do-as-a-senior-adult-in-my-church/.
3 Ramsey, Dave. The Total Money Makeover. Nelson Current, 2010.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.