The Bright Side of Growing Older Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Growing older brings Increasing Brightness.
February 23, 2014
Title: The Bright Side of Growing Older
Scripture: Job 11:17 (KJV)—“Thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth.”
Our devotion for today is about the bright side of growing old. If you don’t think there is a bright side to it, I found some humorous stories that may change your mind.
When Elizabeth Sphar’s grandson asked her how old she was, she teasingly replied, “I’m not sure.” Undaunted by his grandmother’s ignorance, the little boy gave her some advice. He said, “Look in your underwear, Grandma. Mine says I’m four.”
One woman, who was struggling with the reality of her age asked a friend, “I don’t think I look forty-years-old, do you?” Her friend answered, “No, but you used to!”
During a TV commercial break, an eighty-five-year-old man climbed out of his recliner and said, “Honey, I’m going into the kitchen to get some ice cream, would you like some?” The elderly woman was pleased with her husband’s willingness to serve her a bowl of ice cream, but she wanted to make sure he brought her the right kind. She said, “I want vanilla with chocolate sauce on top. Write it down so you won’t forget.” He just shook his head and walked into the kitchen. Fifteen minutes later, he returned carrying a plateful of scrambled eggs. When he handed it to his wife she grumbled, “I told you to write it down so you wouldn’t forget. But instead of making a note, you show up with eggs and forgot my bacon!”
It was quite a shock when Slim, a ninety-year-old man, married a woman of just fifty-five years. People were talking and one of them decided to get some answers. He asked Slim a series of probing questions. Rufus asked, “Did you marry her because she’s pretty?” Slim said, “No, truth is she’s not that pretty.” Rufus persisted, “Did you marry her ’cause she’s rich?” Slim denied she had any money to speak of. Rufus speculated, “You must have married her because she’s a good cook.” Slim admitted she really couldn’t cook very well. Rufus was dumbfounded so he asked straight out, “Why in the world did you marry her then?” Slim answered, “Because she can drive after dark.”
One senior adult recently made the following comment: “If you’re over sixty-five and wake up without something hurting—you’re dead.” George Burns said, “By the time you’re eighty, you know everything, but the problem is you just can’t remember it.”
I suppose nobody ever did naturally like the idea of getting older. I know I don’t; I turned 65 on March 2. There is a sense of oppression and depression about it. I look different; my hair is thinning, my muscles are soft, my waste continues to grow, the hair in my nose and ears grows profusely. I think I am beginning to look more like my father looked in his old age. However, I not only look different, I am different.
My patience has left me, and Sierra will tell you that I am grumpy and hard to get along with. There are these liver spots on my hands and arms. I can’t see or hear very well anymore.
One preacher had this to say on the subject of aging: “The irresistible, inevitable onward march of moments and years without the possibility of one instant’s pause—a march that, even while on the uphill side of life, is leading to the downhill side—casts an autumn-like shadow over many a birthday. Nevertheless, the Bible gives us the bright side of everything!” In this case, it gives us three bright sides. Today, we are going to look at those three bright sides to getting older.
First, Growing older brings Increasing Brightness.
Every year means another year of experiencing His love and faithfulness, and it means that we have more knowledge of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It says in Proverbs, “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble” (Prov.4:18-19). Light and dark are opposites; therefore, it is easy to compare the two. Think of them as being two different paths through life.
The paths taken by the wise and the wicked are as different as light and darkness. Choosing the path to follow is a life or death decision. The path of the wise is like the dawn’s first rays of light that gradually increase to greater brightness. The path of the wicked is characterized by complete and utter darkness that causes instability and stumbling.
Psalm 1 compares the happiness found in the Lord with the sadness of those who do not know Him. It tells us in verse 1 that there is a blessing that comes to the person who obeys the Lord—“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” To know and do the will of God is the real meaning of wisdom.
Happiness and blessing belong to the individual who delights in and continually meditates on God’s Word. That is what it says in verse 2—“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Such meditation is not centered primarily on mental knowledge of the Word, but a constant yielding to the will of God.
Verse 3 says that stability and fruitfulness belong to the individual who focuses continually on obedience to God—“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Those who live their lives in the light of God’s word avoid destructive relationships, delight continually in God’s Word, and achieve stability and productivity. Those who choose another way of life, experience instability, defeat and isolation, and separation from God.
Samson is one who spent his life on the wrong path. He was a gifted man who ignored many of the instructions given in the first four chapters of Proverbs. When you read Judges 13–16, you find out that he did not seek God’s wisdom but went his own rebellious way, instead. He took his eyes off the right path and ended up on the path of darkness and death. He chose the wrong friends, and followed recklessness instead of wisdom. If he had allowed the Word to control his whole person, Samson would have brought blessing to himself and glory to God. In the end, Samson died along with thousands of Philistines, buried under the rubble of a pagan temple. He lived in darkness, and his life was marked by sin, rebellion, and stress. By comparison, the path of the righteous shines brighter and brighter, ultimately leading the child of God into the very presence of that One who is the Light of the World. Growing older can bring increasing brightness for the believer. Things will get better and better for him, if he will only stay on the right path.
There is a second bright side to growing older; Growing older brings Increasing Fruitfulness.
Psalms 92:14 tells us that—They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing. The reason for the luxuriant growth of believers is that they are planted in the house of the Lord and they flourish in the courts of our God. In other words, they live in daily fellowship with the Lord, drawing their strength and sustenance from Him. Age does not impair their fruit-bearing capabilities. They continue to pulsate with vigorous spiritual life, and their testimony remains forever fresh. Aged believers are sweet testimonies to the constant presence and provision of God. They can truly say, “The longer I serve Him, the sweeter it grows.” We may experience hard times, but hard times should never make us hardened people, and adversity should never make us rude.
Psalm 92 teaches that aging saints are like palm trees and cedars—tall, stately, and majestic. Robertson McQuilkin has suggested that God planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical, and the strength and beauty of age to be spiritual.
We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary, so we’ll be sure to concentrate on the strength and beauty, which is forever. Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger spiritually, each day.
These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on things that cannot be seen. The Bible states in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “…but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”