Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

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.”

 

Introduction

Our devotion for today is about the brightside 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 any more.

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 brightsides.

Today, we are going to look at those three brightsides 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 life 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.”

The hymns To God Be the Glory, Blessed Assurance, All the Way My Savior Leads Me, and He Hideth My Soul remind us that it’s never too late to begin serving Christ.

Some people start as children, others as teens or young adults.

But Moses was 80 when God commissioned him, and Paul was middle-aged.

So was Fanny Crosby, who was the author of the hymns I mentioned.

Fanny was born in a cottage in South East, New York, in 1820.

Six weeks later, she caught a cold in her eyes, and a visiting doctor prescribed mustard poultices, leaving her virtually blind for life.

Growing into childhood, she determined to make the best of it, writing at age eight: “O what a happy soul I am! / Although I cannot see, I am resolved that in this world contented I will be.”

Fanny spent many years in New York’s Institution for the Blind, first as a student, then as a teacher and writer-in-residence.

Her career flourished, and her fame mushroomed.

She recited her poems before Congress and became friends with the most powerful people in America, including presidents.

But not until 1851 did Fanny meet her greatest friend, the Lord Jesus.

While attending a revival meeting at John Street Methodist Church in New York, she later recalled, a prayer was offered, and “they began to sing the grand old consecration hymn, ‘Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed?’ and when they reached the line, ‘Here, Lord, I give myself away,’ my very soul was flooded with celestial light.”

Fourteen years later, she met the hymnist William Bradbury, who told her, “Fanny, I thank God we have met, for I think you can write hymns.”

Bradbury suggested an idea for a song he needed, and on February 5, 1864, Fanny Crosby, seizing his idea, wrote: We are going, we are going / To a home beyond the skies / Where the fields are robed in beauty / And the sunlight never dies.

It was her first hymn, and she was 44.

But by the time, she reached her “home beyond the skies” 50 years later, she had written 8,000 more hymns.

Friends, it is even good to thank the Lord for old age.

In old age, those who live for Christ become fresh, flourishing, fruitful, and faithful.

Instead of complaining, they are praising the Lord and witnessing for Him.

D. L. Moody wrote, It does not pay to get sour as you get old. I pity a man who lives in the past. He lives on stale manna. He gets stunted.

The Bible offers repeated assurances that the process we call aging is completely secure in God’s hand.

Looks, health, and circumstances change with time, and often in ways we would not desire.

Many cope with the stress of aging by trying to cling to outward beauty, youthful strength, or vocational achievement.

Yet, only when we realize that God has made each of us, and in accordance with His plan, He carries us through the changing seasons of life, do we come to peace with the inevitability of getting older.

Just as each season of nature has its beauty and purpose by God’s design, so there is no season of life in which the Christian should be disappointed at living.

Though opportunities and abilities may decline with age, each day of life that God gives is purposefully ordained according to His perfect wisdom.      

God’s plan includes people of every age.

Miriam was a young girl when she stood by a river and watched her baby brother, Moses.

Many years later, she helped her brother lead God’s people across another body of water to freedom.

Mary was a teenager when Gabriel announced her motherhood and middle-aged when she witnessed His Crucifixion and Resurrection, and the sending of the Holy Spirit to the early church.

Sarah was well past menopause when she gave birth to her son, Isaac.

Those who live each day for Christ will bear fruit not only in youth but in old age as well.

There is yet a third Brightside to growing older; it is that you have Increasing Intimacy with Jehovah-Jesus

God said through the prophet Isaiah, “And even to your old age I am he; and…I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Is.46:4).

In contrast to the idols, which are carried by the people, the true God will carry His people even to their old age.

Ever since Isaiah, men have been aware that one of the vital distinctions between true religion and false is that whereas the latter is a dead burden for the soul to carry, the former is a living power to carry the soul.

I’ll wrap this up with some trivia that relates to growing older.

Did you know, the number of people in the United States over age sixty-five is larger that the entire population of Canada.

Did you know that Americans over the age of sixty have $10 trillion in financial resources.

Also, two thirds of all the people who have ever lived to age sixty-five are alive today.

A common misconception among the elderly is that their age prevents them from making a significant impact.

May these seniors be encouraged by the following: Tennyson was eighty years old when he wrote “Crossing the Bar,” and Robert Louis Stevenson left an unfinished novel, which he titled “Weir of Hermiston,” when he died.

His death conceivably occurred while he was writing, because the story stops in mid-sentence.

One of Whittier’s most beautiful poems was titled, “To Oliver Wendell Holmes.”

He wrote it just a few weeks before his death.

Charles Dickens was working on what promised to be his best novel when he died.

Few of us will die in the midst of producing our life’s greatest work, but we can all strive to give our best until the moment of death arrives.

An African folk song declares, “When an old person dies, it’s as if a library has been destroyed by fire.”

How true!

Every senior adult represents a bridge to the past.

That bridge can only be crossed if the younger generation takes time to draw out the history and heritage that is stored within the heart and mind.

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