Senior Saints

King Solomon as an older man gave a stern warning: "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

Solomon was despondent. His body was weary and he carried the burden of a failed mission. He made poor decisions as a younger man that ruined his testimony later on. It seemed smart to marry into the families of other kings, thus ensuring peace, but the he allowed his perspective to change when he began to worship the pagan gods his wives brought along.

Gail Sheehy in "Passages" wrote about predictable crises, and getting older is one of them. The average lifespan in America is 79. According to the Social Security Administration, a man 65 today can expect to reach 84, and a women 65 today can expect to live to be 86.

The scripture insists old age is one of God's gifts. Solomon wrote in another place, "The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old."

Every day is a gift from God, and the accumulation of days, months and years is the cumulative gift of God. Therefore we should live as people of gratitude. The alternative is to become grumpy old men or fussy old women!

Victor Frankl spent time in several Nazi concentration camps where his wife, mother and brother died. He survived and wrote about his experiences in "Man's Search for Meaning." Frankl argued that everyone has freedom to choose their attitudes, and these attitudes determine our survivability and the caliber of our lives. "When we are no longer able to change a situation," he wrote, "we are challenged to change ourselves."

Seniors can determine to stay active and serve the Lord and his church. Some seniors hide behind the excuse, "I've served my time," thus denying themselves the fulfillment of helping in the Lord's work. Throughout my ministry I've been helped especially by a number of senior men whose counsel I sought regularly. The mistakes I made came in large measure when I didn't seek their advice.

John D. Rockefeller was a billionaire by age 53 when he succumbed to a mysterious disease. His body shriveled and his doctor said he had a year to live. Rockefeller met Christ and joined a Baptist Church where he served as trustee, clerk, Sunday School teacher and sometimes custodian! He then determined to give away his fortune and gave more than one-half billion dollars before his death at age 97.

Christ made a difference in his life, and seniors today can know this, too.