Getting Old….

20160328_071931-1This morning at our Republican breakfast meeting Senate Candidate John Keyser was the special guest. John served in the State House just after I left, and is truly an impressive young man. He is a Bronze Star Recipient, who has served our nation faithfully and continues his military service in the reserves. I also had a lunch meeting with our Energy Action Project Steering Committee. It was good to be with a number of individuals who are partners with us promoting responsible energy development in northern Colorado.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… Remove sorrow from your heart, and put away pain from your flesh, because youth and the prime of life are fleeting. So remember your Creator in the days of your youth: Before the days of adversity come, and the years approach when you will say, “I have no delight in them” Ecclesiastes 11:10; 12:1)

“Getting old ain’t for sissies.” It seems that saying originated with actress Bette Davis, who said, “growing old ain’t no place for sissies.” I first heard it from an older gentlemen by the name of John Crandall, who attended my church as a pastor.

What is interesting is that Solomon of old recognized the challenges of life and growing old thousands of years ago. As I was reading the last two chapters of Ecclesiastes, I recognized the flow from the last verse of chapter 11 to the first verse of chapter 12. Solomon warns, “the prime of life is fleeting.”

The verses of chapter 12 reveal all the challenges of old age, Solomon in poetic words, describes loss of hearing, loss of sight, loss of energy, loss of mobility, loss of mental acuity and loss of enjoyment of life. It seems our younger years are spent “gaining” and our later years “losing.” Such is the cycle of life and the aging process.

Since Solomon is concerned about not just observing some of the “futility” of life, but is also a man of wisdom, we find his advice along with his observations. I see two key words, “remove” and “remember.” Life is to be lived, not just endured. It is to be invested, not just spent.

He says to “remove sorrow from your heart, and pain from your flesh.” I would suggest that relates to how we maintain a healthy spirit and a healthy body. As we grow older the neglect in those two areas can manifest themselves. The resentments that have been hidden for years, come to the surface. The grudges and forgiveness harbored in our hearts, will manifest themselves.

I have noticed that my 91 year-old mother will often revert back to reliving a painful misunderstanding and false accusation from her youth. I have seen the same type of thing in older people from my years of pastoral ministry. I am always delighted when there is an older person who faces their final days with a gracious spirit and a pleasant demeanor.

Taking care of our physical bodies is important as well. There is a commercial that contains the words, “a body in motion stays in motion.” I discovered the truth of that when I was hospitalized for almost five months. During my initial illness time, a friend who is a retired rehabilitation doctor, told me studies have found that for every day in bed, it takes three days to recover. I remember meeting an elderly lady during my political door to door campaign work. She was delightful and spry for being in her mid 90’s and talked about walking two miles a day.

Solomon also says, “remember.” “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth.” A life lived for God, is a life lived with God. In all that life brings it is important to have the support and resilience that comes from knowing God and placing our trust in Him and our life under His care.

Remember to invest your life. Send your bread on the surface of the waters, for after many days you may find it.” (Eccl. 11:1 HCSB) It is natural to anticipate a “return on investment” of your money. We can also anticipate a “return on our investment” in the lives of others. That is one thing I experienced during my health crisis. Those that we were there for in their time of need, where there for us in our time of need. That wasn’t the motivation for our service to others, but was an unanticipated blessing what it happened.

Remember to make the best of life. Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart be glad in the days of your youth.” (Eccl. 11:9 HCSB) This reminds me of the priorities of life. So often life is lived with the idea of, “when I retired…….” “when the kids are grown….” We become so absorbed in “getting ahead” so we can do what we would like to do in order to enjoy life, but we find “that day”  never comes.

I am thankful that we can find guidelines in the Bible that not only reveals how to have “eternal” life, but how to make the most of the life we have right now. Both of those involve Christ at the center of a person’s life. Investing in your spiritual health, impacts all areas of your life.