Our Example – When We Are Older
See full series: lights-in-a-dark-world-2019
Our Example – When We Are Older
Sermon by Thomas Thornhill Jr
Passage: Psalm 90:10
Sunday, September 22, 2019 am
LIGHTS IN A DARK WORLD (33)
We have been examining how we are to be godly examples in every aspect of our lives. We have addressed several areas of concern, social media, in the workplace, within our neighborhood, as well as examining how we use our resources – money, taking care of our healthy physically and mentally, etc. Today, we want to talk about letting our lights shine when we are older.
We are an older congregation. I mean that from the standpoint of how long we have been around (more than 60 years), and also as we consider the average age in this congregation. We look around and we see very few young, even in our small number. I am sure there is great concern as to what the future holds for this congregation and the gospel in this area. And we ought to be concerned about that. But what are we going to do about it? That is our concern. Sometimes the elderly think there is not much they can do. So today I want to address some things we can do as we grow older. The inspiration for this lesson is based upon one I recently received by Joe Price entitled, “How shall the Old secure their hearts?”.
I. The time of old age
- A time of physical weakness and infirmity – Psalm 90:10 – speaks of how our lives are (typically) 70-80 years, yet they boast of labor and sorrow.
We get older and our bodies begin to wear out. We just don’t have the stamina and strength we used to have. Health is a relative term (when the doctor says, “you are in good health for your age.”)
Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:3-8 described the process of growing older. The descriptions there are references to parts of the body that don’t function like they used to.
This is why Solomon warned just prior to this that we ought to remember our creator while we are still young (11:9-12:2). Don’t live a life of regret where you look back and would give anything to start over and make better choices.
- A time of solitude – old age can be a time of loneliness for many reasons.
Things have changed and people don’t seem to understand you anymore. You have genuine spiritual concerns and people don’t seem to care, or there are misunderstandings about motives and actions. Many wonder about the Lord’s warning in Luke 18:8, Will the Lord really find faith on earth?
You can’t do as much and you feel useless and/or discouraged.
Perhaps you have said goodbye to dear friends – too many to count.
In this, realize that the Lord has not, and will not fail you – Hebrews 13:5. Remember the words of David in Psalm 37:23-26, The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lends; And his descendants are blessed.
- A time of seriousness as one prepares to face eternity – You’re facing then end of your earthly journey and are keenly aware of it. Certainly you need to number your days – Psalm 90:12
Romans 13:11 – now our salvation is nearer than when we believed.
Proverbs 16:31 notes, The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness. WHEN we are prepared, this is a time of hope.
- The Bible teaches that the elderly are to be respected – both in the OT and NT. Proverbs 20:29, The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head.
Leviticus 19:32, ‘You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord.
1 Peter 5:5, Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
- NOTE: When I announced this topic last week, after services I was told by more than one, “Who are you calling old?” It was spoken light hearted by some “seasoned citizens”. But honestly it brings up a good point – the idea of being old can be either objective OR subjective. It is objective IF we set a certain age and say, anyone “older than that” is old (or should we say, mature). But it is subjective in that for many, age does not keep them from being active. They may have no choice but to slow down because the body says so, but they do what they can and many are active.
I am convinced God has a place and a work for the elderly – but what does that entail?
ii. What can the elderly do?
- Don’t give up – press toward the goal. Philippians 3:13-14 – You are not there yet.
- Trust in the Lord – while this applies to all, as we get older it becomes more crucial. Proverbs 3:5, trust in Him with all your heart…
If you have lived a faithful life, you have reason to trust in Him. Your faith is now more mature and you are ready to stand before Him. Be reminded of Paul in 2 Timothy 1:12, 4:6-8.
- You can pray – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – pray without ceasing. James 5:16 – we are called upon to pray for one another. You find in the example of Paul one who prayed vigorously for himself and others.
Pray for the work, those working, for open doors, etc. EVEN if you are limited in your ability, it is likely you can say a fervent prayer for others who are doing the work.
- Speak God’s righteousness when you can – one who has lived for the Lord is in a circumstance where he can proclaim God.
- Share your wisdom – the Bible speaks of the blessing of the gray haired – should be respected.
Teach your children and grandchildren – cf. Titus 2:2-5; Deuteronomy 4:9, Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, cf. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 – teach them to your children; 2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15 – Timothy had been taught by his mother and grandmother.
- You can attend when possible – Hebrews 10:24-25 – we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves. This has no age limit attached to it. AS long as you have ability, you need to try and be here.
There are some flimsy excuses made for not attending more often. But I also realize there are legitimate reasons. HOWEVER, understand that when you attend INSPITE of your troubles, it is a GREAT example to others. When the elderly are here at every opportunity they can be it says something – one is not going to let ailments stand in their way of that which they view as most important.
- You can still praise the Lord – worship is about God. Do what you can when we are assembled together. But of course, praising the Lord is more than just when we worship Him. We can tell of His wonderous works in our lives. 2 Timothy 3:10-11 – out of them all, the Lord has delivered me.
Psalm 37:25 – I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread.
Psalm 71:8, 14-16Let my mouth be filled with Your praise And with Your glory all the day… But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.
This psalm is written by one who is believed to be elderly (vs. 9, 18). He continues to praise the Lord. Again, others need to see this – especially, when we are facing difficult times. We have some here who regardless of what they are going through, they praise the Lord when they are here.
- Encourage your brethren – 1 Thessalonians 5:14 – we exhort, warn and comfort. Hebrews 12:12 – strengthen the hands who hang down. Applicable to all, but we all excel in these things in different areas. The elderly have their life experiences they can appeal to.
Write notes of encouragement to the sick, discouraged, or even those you observe are doing something right. Consider dropping a note to some of the preachers we support – their addresses and reports of their work are available in our members area, OR you can ask us and we will gladly provide their addresses.
- Continue to apply godly attitudes and demeanor – Titus 2:1-4. Speaks of both older men and women. We will never reach a point where we don’t need to try and be pleasant. Sometimes, the elderly can become overly critical or even bitter. We must seek at all times to display Christian attitudes.
- Do what you can – the elderly are often unable to do as much as they would like, or in times past – but doing whatever they can do is noticed and appreciated, especially by the godly.
That is all that God expects of you!
- Final observation – what about someone who looks back at their life and has regrets? The answer to this is – the past is the past. As Paul said, “forget those things behind and reach forward to the things that are ahead.” Press toward the goal RIGHT NOW. (Philippians 3:13-14)
Realize that it is NOT too late for God to forgive you. He will, if you repent and submit to Him, EVEN NOW!2 Peter 3:9 – He is longsuffering, desiring that all should come to repentance; Acts 8:22, 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 Do the best you can “from now on”. Will there be consequences because of your past? Yes! But deal with such and move on.
These are just a few considerations for the elderly. Wherever we are, we are still to shine as lights in this dark world. Just as every area requires we be a godly example, so it is with every age. How are you doing in this? Think about it.