Many years ago I spoke for a senior women’s group in a local church. My topic? Don’t die before you’re dead. Oddly enough they never asked me back to speak.
I was genuinely making this point. God isn’t done with us – that is working IN us or THROUGH us – until the moment we leave our earthly tents. I don’t care if you are over 60, over 70 or even over 90, if you are still breathing – God is sustaining you for His purposes.
Too many people feel like they are on the downward slide to the end and they are just hanging on till that happens. How sad. The older we get the more life experience and the more spiritual maturity we have to influence others, whether it is our peers or the next generation or two. We never retire from our spiritual journey.
I have shared before my memorable experience with two elderly women (both in their 90’s at the time) that impacted my life. Anne and Sue. One reached 100, the other got very close. One was bed-bound. I stopped periodically to visit and encourage them but it was always the other way around – they encouraged and inspired me. Both were prayer warriors. They didn’t suddenly become prayer warriors at 90; they developed that powerful ministry over years. Did they have reason to complain? To be depressed or discouraged? Probably – but never did I hear such things. Instead their love for Jesus was evident in their countenance and on their lips. I’m inspired all over again as I write this, recalling my interactions with them 20 years ago.
We all want to age gracefully, which usually means we hope our hair is a pretty shade of silver or white and that wrinkles and sagging skin don’t become our most dominant feature. But the greater grace is the inner beauty that is nurtured and developed over years of walking closely with Jesus. That kind of beauty shines through beyond the gray hair and wrinkles. You know it’s true.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. Psalm 92:12-15
But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right. Job 32:8-9
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Psalm 71:18
…even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. Isaiah 46:4
So now you understand my title… Don’t die before you’re dead. No matter your age… you still have purpose; you still have much to offer. Every day the Father has chosen for you, live it to the full.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
Let’s shine today regardless of our age, our stature or our circumstances. No matter what transpires today may our Father be glorified.
After serving 16 years full time on the staff of America’s Keswick, Diane and her husband moved to North Carolina where she continues to serve part time as a contributing writer and Partner Care Consultant. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.