The number 52 took on new meaning for me a few days ago.
I was aware there are 52 cards in a deck and 52 weeks in a year. As of this past Sunday, there are 52 years in my life. I’m getting old.
Growing older has its drawbacks. We’ve seen them first hand as our parents have confronted things like Alzheimer’s, injuries, and debilitating diseases. But I’m certain that God intends us to think of getting older in a positive way. Or else why would he say things like this:
“Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained in a righteous life”
“The glory of young men is their strength,
but the splendor of old men is their gray hair”
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16.)
Glory? Splendor? Being renewed? I have to confess that each time I notice some new pain that seems to hang on for weeks, those aren’t the words that first come to mind. What does come to mind is walkers, wheel chairs, and nursing homes.
Okay, maybe I’m overstating it. But a few years ago I had a conversation with a worship pastor in a fairly large church who was concerned he was turning 40. He wasn’t sure he’d still have a job in a few years because he wasn’t as energetic and musically relevant as some younger guys who were starting to lead.
Now I’m listening to this guy talk, thinking, “If he’s old, what am I? Pre-historic?” I think I was able to help him see that leading congregational worship doesn’t require you looking like or having the energy of a rock star.
Besides there are real advantages to being an old worship pastor, or an old anything for that matter. In our youth-enamored culture, it’s good to be reminded that growing old is a good thing. Here are some thoughts that have encouraged me recently.
1. I know my Savior better and love him more than I used to.
2. I know and love God’s Word more than I did when I was younger.
3. I’ve seen my pride exposed more often, so in some ways, I’m humbler than I used to be (although I still have quite a ways to go).
4. I have more mistakes and experiences to draw from so I’m hopefully wiser in some ways. Definitely more relaxed.
5. I’m less impressed with what I do and more impressed with what God has done in Christ.
6. I can serve future generations by telling them all the stuff I’ve done wrong and a few things I’ve done right.
7. God has graciously given me another year on this earth to enjoy my family and church, bear fruit for his glory, and prepare for eternity.
8. Every year, I’m one year closer to seeing the face of my Savior.
I don’t know how old you are. But I know this. Growing old is a gift from God. And I’m very grateful for it. I pray you are as well.