"To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living." Henri-Frederick Amiel
The Art of Living: How To Grow Old
by Max Lucado
READ Proverbs 23:1-35
SITUATION Solomon exhorted his hearers to avoid gluttony and drunkenness. He also advise them to respect older people.
OBSERVATION Younger people can gain wisdom by learning from those who are older.
INSPIRATION Don't you hate it when someone else reminds you?
The barber: "Getting a little thin up top here, Joe."
The stylist: "Next time you come, in Sue, we'll do something about these grey streaks."
The invitation: "Your invited to your thirtieth high school reunion."
Your doctor: "Nothing to worry about, Bill. Your condition is common for folks in their mid-age."
The dawning of old age.
The first pages of the final chapters. A golden speck appears on the green leaves of your life, and you are brought face to wrinkled face with the fact that your are getting older..
Everything hurts when you wake up. What doesn't hurt, doesn't work.
Your parents begin acting like children.
The smile lines don't go away when you stop smiling.
And then -boom! The rain becomes a torrent. The gentle taps become thunder. Cardiac arrest. Empty nest. Forty candles. Bifocals. Boom. Boom! BOOM!
Now there is no denial. Ponce de Leon didn't find the fountain of youth, neither will you. Oh, but how we try. Barbells get pumped. Black hair gone gray goes black again, or better yet, blond. The van is traded in on a truck, a four-wheel-drive monster that will tackle the treacherous ravines of the interstate. The face gets stretched. The chin gets tucked. Breasts get a lift.
But try as we might, the calendar pages still turn. The clocks still tick. And the body still grows older. And with every new pill we take we are reminded that growing old a pill that has to be swallowed...
But the real pain is deeper. For some it is the hollowness of success. Life at the top of the ladder can be lonely. Mahogany desks grow cold. Sales awards tarnish. Diplomas fade. Sometimes a dream-come-true world has come true and it's less than you'd hoped.
It can get even worst. Regret can lead to rebellion. Rebellion against the demands. Rebellion against the ho-hum. Rebellion against whatever ties you down: your job, your government, your station wagon, or worst still...your family...
Let me be very clear with my point: Growing old can be dangerous. The trail is treacherous and the pitfalls are many One is wise to be prepared. You know it's coming. It's not like God kept the process secret. It's not like you are blazing a trail as you grow older. It's not as if no one has ever done it before. Look around you. You have ample opportunity to prepare and ample case studies to consider. If growing old catches you by surprise, don't blame God. He gave you plenty of warning. He also gave you plenty of advice.
Read Jesus' admonition. "Those who want to save their lives will give up true life. But those who give up their lives for me will have true life" (Luke 9:24).
Your last chapter can be your best. Your final song can be your greatest. It could be that all of your life has prepared you for a grand exit. God's oldest have always been among his choicest...
As we get older, our vision should improve. Not our vision of earth but our vision of heaven. Those who have spent their life looking for heaven gain a skip in their step as the city comes into view.
And I hope you'll be ready when you get home. For you, age is no enemy. Age is a mile-marker--a gentle reminder that home has never been so near.
Tell that to your barber.
APPLICATION Do you listen to the wisdom of the elderly? Take time this week to talk to an older person and gain wisdom from that individual.
EXPLORATION Overindulgence--Deuteronomy 21:20-21; Proverbs 20:1; 28:7; Isaiah 5:11, 22; Habakkuk 2:15-16; Luke 21:34; Romans 13:13-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:7-8.
From HE STILL MOVES THE STONES by Max Lucado source: The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus; Max Lucado General Editor, New Century Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers
Singing In The Rain - Singing In The Rain (Gene Kelly)