Many people don’t like to think about aging. In fact, one television commercial said it like this: “I will fight [aging] every step of the way!” But the reality is that each day we live, we age.
As David said in Psalm 37:25, “I have been young and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread” (emphasis added).
The aging process begins the moment of conception. As sand in an hourglass drops one grain at a time, so our lives move one second at a time.
The Bible provides several examples of people from whom we can gain practical life lessons on aging gracefully. From godly figures in Genesis to the apostle Paul, God gives us examples of those who lived life to the fullest at all stages of life.
One of the most unique people in Genesis was Enoch, who walked with God before God suddenly took him to be with Him. The Bible simply says, “He [Enoch] was not, for God took him” (Gen. 5:24).
It was after the birth of Enoch’s son Methuselah that he began to walk with God, which shows that as Enoch aged, he grew in godliness. The greatest legacy we can leave our family isn’t financial or material, but spiritual. It is the legacy of faith.
Too many look at retirement as an end and never plan to do anything afterward. Moses, for 120 years, kept pursuing goals and seeking the Lord. So should we if we are to age godly and gracefully.
King Solomon said, “The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him” (Prov. 20:7). Enoch’s life should remind us to live with integrity, consistency, and dependability.
Abraham serves as another example of aging in a godly way. Called “the friend of God,” he left an amazing legacy and died as “an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people” (Gen. 25:8).
Abraham, which means “father of many,” lived up to his name’s meaning by pursuing God’s will for his life. He indeed became the father of a multitude.
Abraham’s life teaches us the key to having a personal relationship with God: faith. We should likewise pursue a genuine, faith-filled relationship with God. That relationship must begin at salvation, when we place our faith in Jesus Christ. Then we can begin to live godly lives.
Moses’ life provides another life lesson for aging. His story teaches us we must have life goals. His goal was to lead the children of Israel.
Moses’ life of 120 years divides into three 40-year parts: his birth to his departure from Egypt (Ex. 2:15); his time in Midian, where he gets married, has two sons, and encounters God at a burning bush; and his journey leading the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land.
Though Moses aged and faced many challenges throughout his life, he continued to serve the Lord. Too many look at retirement as an end and never plan to do anything afterward. Moses, for 120 years, kept pursuing goals and seeking the Lord. So should we if we are to age godly and gracefully.
As Caleb said, “Give me this mountain!” (Josh. 14:12), we too must continue climbing, striving, and pursuing our God-given dreams until the Lord takes us home. Someone once said, “I am retreating, not retiring.” May we never tire from serving Christ.
I knew a man who still played handball in his 70s. He was energetic, fit, and enthusiastic. I loved talking with him and hearing how he would play and defeat men much younger than him. Why could he do this? Because he had passion and purpose.
Paul and John in the New Testament also possessed passion and purpose. The possession of those two qualities will determine the quality of our lives as we age.
Paul called himself, “Paul the aged.” John, exiled on Patmos, received the visions recorded in the Book of Revelation. Both lived with heart, zeal, and vigor.
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Did they have their challenges? Of course. Paul wrote about some of his challenges in 2 Corinthians 11:23–29 and 2 Timothy 4:9–18. John suffered a sentence of death, and church tradition says he was burned in oil then exiled to Patmos after he survived.
We cannot change the physical and mental obstacles that enter our lives as we age. But we can change our attitudes. Like John and Paul, we must face our days with passion and purpose.
May we live each phase of our lives with the desire to grow in grace, faith, love, passion, and purpose. Then when we reach the end of our lives, we will be able to say like Paul, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).