What has been the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? The thing that made your family gasp and think you were crazy, the thing they tried to talk you out of?
I find it odd that most people are satisfied living in the safe lane of life. No risks, no adventures, just content to be stuck in the middle of the pack. I would love to see a Sunday School class of senior adult ladies try indoor skydiving.
Can you imagine the conversation in that classroom? The group leader opens by asking what their activity will be for the month.
“I hear there is a new painting exhibit at the local museum,” says one of the class members.
Another white-haired lady raises her hand and suggests faintly, “I hear the tulips are in bloom in the park; how about we get the church van and do a tour of the spring flowers?” The ladies’ heads nod in agreement.
Still another member speaks up. “You know there is a new tearoom opening up in town; maybe we could do a brunch.” The ladies nod their heads in unison, agreeing in a chorus of “mmmm”s.
Then the oldest lady in the room says something in a mere whisper.
“What was that?” asks the group leader.
“I’ve never been skydiving,” she says, her voice a bit louder. “I think we ought to do something different. We are always playing it safe. I hear, ‘You can’t do this’ or ‘You can’t do that.’ But no one tells me what I can do. Yes, there is risk. At our age, it is a risk just getting out of bed.
“It seems like only a few years ago I was carrying a child on one hip and a sack of groceries on the other. And now I find myself stuck in a classroom talking about looking at flowers and eating tiny sandwiches. Shouldn’t we have bigger dreams?
“If you remember, Sarah was 90 years old when God called her to give birth to her son, Isaac. I don’t know what a baby shower for a 90-year-old woman looks like, but I would love to have been there to experience it. We shouldn’t undersell ourselves; God can use as mightily as He does any other age group. So I say we should all go skydiving.”
If you visit their Sunday school classroom today and look on the announcement board, there, proudly posted, is a picture of their group, each member outfitted in a jumpsuit, windblown hair in disarray as a testimony to the day they took a risk.
I tell this story because I knew a woman just like this. Her name was Lucile Hodges. She never stopped taking risks. She was 84 when she came to me and said she wanted to help me start an organization that would raise up the next generation of missionaries. She said, “I have a nickel, and you have the know-how, so let’s team up and see what God can do.” That’s how Awe Star Missions was born, and 27 years later, it is still going. We have taken thousands upon thousands of students into 53 countries, leading people to Christ.
When I turned 50, I got a new motorcycle. I rode it over to Lucile’s house to show it to her. At this point, she was 90 years old, and as she was admiring my gift, she said, “I have never ridden a motorcycle. Could you take me for a ride?” I got her a helmet, she climbed on, and we took off. I could feel her hug me tighter and laugh harder as we sped up and took the corners.
After a few minutes, I pulled back into her driveway, knowing I had probably worn her out. Suddenly, I heard her shout in my ear, “Do we have to stop now?” With that, I turned the bike around and headed back into the street, my adventurous friend clutching me for dear life.
At 87, Lucile bought her first pair of tennis shoes and went to Mexico as a short-term missionary. I could tell you story after story about this woman and her zest for life. She wasn’t going to rust out waiting for the Lord to come; she determined to make each day meaningful as long as she had breath. She did not die of old age, but at 99, an accident led to an infection that took her life.
“Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone” (Deut. 34:7).
By the way, if your senior adult Sunday school class decides to go skydiving, I have only one request: Invite me. I want to be in that picture too!