Sometimes when I have a request to make of a person, I begin the request by saying “Would it be OK if I asked…?” It’s almost like I am asking permission to ask.
I think older adults in our society often feel like that. They think they need to ask if it’s OK to continue to do what they are doing at a certain age. They may even feel that way about serving in the church.
I don’t exactly know why this is so. Maybe the world is negatively influencing both senior adults and the church. Perhaps we think the word “retire” somehow means coming to the end of our usefulness. I am very hopeful that we can transform our expectancies in this stage of life.
Senior adults should be encouraged, empowered and given opportunities to serve. It should be an expectation. When I was a teenager, I prayed and asked the Lord how He wanted me to serve; and He answered me! I’ve asked that same question all my life and hope to keep on asking.
When Caleb was 85 years old and back in the promised land, he boldly asked God to “give me this mountain.” He was just as willing and purposeful as when he was a much younger man.
We do not often think of a person who is in their 80s taking a new ministry assignment. Why do we see many senior adults seemingly say, “I’ve done my part” and appear to resign themselves to the sidelines? Rather, we should live with the wonderful expectation that we are so blessed by God that He would use us to serve all our life as we are physically able. The Great Commission is always the mission, and our spiritual gifts are for all of life. May we be so bold as to ask God, regardless of age, how He wants us to serve.
Have you ever seen the joy a 77-year-old child of God experiences when they go on their first mission trip? It is the exact same joy a teenager who is 17 experiences. Is the prayer to the Lord “How would you have me serve” the same for a 77-year-old as it is for a 17-year-old? I think it is! There are more senior adults in our churches than ever before who have more quality years to serve.
Vance Havner, one of the great Southern Baptist preachers of another era said in his biography, “retirement age is supposed to mean that I should sit in a rocking chair, wait for my social security check and reminisce about the good old days. I have no thought of retiring. I would say with Caleb, ‘give me this mountain’!”
What a great and joyful call—the opportunity to participate in God’s plan of redemption.
How old are you?
It doesn’t matter. Don’t be afraid to ask!