FIRST-PERSON: Never retire!
NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Never stop doing what God put you on earth to do. For the seniors among us, this is no time to slack off. It's just getting good.
Congratulations on two of the biggest blessings in your life. One, if you are born again, your name is written in the book of life. You are going to heaven.
And two, you're old.
You may not think of getting old as a blessing, but it is. We all have had friends who yearned to live as long as we have, to see their kids grow up and get married, to hold their grandbabies. Some of us have even had the privilege of watching our grandchildren grow into young adulthood.
I hear people say, "There's no retirement in Scripture." Actually, there is. Numbers 8:25 says the Jewish priests retired at the age of 50. Thereafter, they could volunteer to assist if they chose, but this was a young man's profession, manhandling all those animals for sacrifice, that sort of thing.
Even so, there is no retirement from serving the Lord.
-- You may be doing your best work right now.
-- God may be using you in ways you cannot imagine. Whether you see what He is doing or not makes no difference. After all, you are not the judge of your own work. None of us is.
-- People coming behind you are watching to see how you handle the challenge of seniority in these last decades. Your influence is phenomenal.
-- You're almost home now. You can see the house from here. Just a little longer.
I've heard that tightrope walkers are at their most precarious in those final one or two steps. They've walked across the arena high above the crowd, they've risked their lives, and now they're done. Almost. Just another step or two. What they must not do is let down their guard and relax too soon. To do that can be fatal.
The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:1, "Therefore, since we have received this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart [and quit]." He looks back and sees two overwhelming reasons to stay faithful: mercy and ministry -- God's mercy upon us and His calling for us.
Then, in the same chapter, verses 16-17, the apostle writes, "Therefore we do not lose heart [and quit]. For even though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For this momentary light affliction is working for us an exceeding weight of glory far beyond all comparison." This time, Paul looks to the future and gives us two more great reasons for not quitting: growth and glory -- God is making us into the image of Christ here in this life and His great rewards are just ahead.
When you get to heaven, you will find just how precious was your service for the Lord. You will see what you have achieved. And you will be so grateful you were faithful.
To seniors who are away from God, who have not yet given your hearts to Jesus and begun living for Him: What are you waiting for?
Some will say, "I'm too far gone; there's no hope for me." Others may say, "I'm going to do it ... one of these days."
Let me tell you a story.
A preacher told how when he was little, his mother taught him piano. Once in a recital, he was on stage playing his little piece when he froze up. His mind went blank and he could not recall a thing. He had to get up and walk off the stage in humiliation. Later, he said, his mother gave him some great advice.
"Honey, any time you mess up in the middle, always end with a flourish. If you end with a flourish, no one will remember what you did in the middle."
Some of you may have messed up in the middle of your life. But my friend, it's still possible to end with a flourish.
Will you do it? Will you invite Jesus Christ into your life today and let Him start a new thing in you?
Ponder these words from Scripture:
"Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your heart" (Hebrews 3:15).
"Now, is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).
"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).
You will never be any younger than you are. You will never be able to go back and start over, or undo what you have done. But you can begin today to get this right and end with a flourish.