Yesterday I wrote about the danger of getting complacent in your spiritual life (see “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt”). Larry Westfall commented, “I find that this is prevalent in older Christians. I have heard more times than I care to recall ‘I have served my time, now it's time for someone else to do it.’”
I have met a few Christians with that attitude as well, and not just “old” Christians. But I have also had the privilege of serving with some super senior saints. A person does not have to sit out the last period of their life on the sidelines. By the grace and strength of the Lord some choose to contribute to the game until the final buzzer. Let me tell you about a couple of them.
Rex is 87 years old. He is a retired bi-vocational preacher. He has Parkinson’s disease which causes him to shake with tremors. He has a back injury that causes pain whenever he stays in one position very long. He has an inoperable hernia that is uncomfortable all the time. He cannot walk very far or very fast. But these things are not what define him. He is a soul-winner. Many times he has called me to ask if I will go with him down to the college and hand out gospel tracts. He tells me, “God did not ask us to save anyone, but He did ask us to tell everyone.” Each Wednesday he and I get together for prayer. I hear his heart of compassion as he prays for his doctors at the VA and others to come to know Jesus. I pray that God would give me a portion of his love for the Lord and for lost souls.
When I met Dorothy she was in a rehab hospital recovering from a serious fall that injured her back. She is in her eighties as well. She can’t see well enough to read her Bible very much anymore. But she has such a hunger for God’s word and His truth. Many times she has come up to me and asked questions about my sermon and how it applies to her life. She calls me and says, “Sunday you preached on … so I was thinking God wants me to do …” I wish some of our younger Christians would have such a teachable spirit. Last week she helped with the third and fourth grade class in Vacation Bible School. She said, “I don’t know what help I can be. I can’t read things and I can’t chase those kids around.” But she was there every day. She called me Sunday after worship and said, “Please pray for this boy who was in our VBS.”
These senior saints remind me of Caleb. He served God wholeheartedly. When Israel divided up the promised land Caleb said, “So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said."
Eighty-five years old and ready to go fight giants! And He did it too with the Lord’s help, “because he followed the LORD, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.”Old Christians never retire, they just fight other giants!