What can we do in eight seconds?
Tie our shoes? Turn on the television? Use the microwave? Make a cup of coffee with a Keurig (one of my favorites)? Eight seconds is very quick, isn’t it?
But there is one thing that is happening every eight seconds in our country, and it’s going to continue for the next thirty plus years. So, what is it? Every eight seconds an individual is turning 65 years of age in the United States. And on July 31, 2018, I turned 65
Our country is aging at a rapid rate, and the church is no exception. In many UMC congregations we are now accustomed to a sea of gray hair rather than the laughter of children. Some may come
to the conclusion that an aging church signals stagnation, decline, and eventual death. But instead of thinking negatively about this condition, have we ever thought that this is a blessing instead of a curse?
God has provided us with the asset of older adults to renew his church, to grow disciples, and to evangelize for the Lord’s Kingdom. Are we equipped and prepared for this challenge? In Isaiah 46:3-4 it is written, “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”
Throughout Scripture, there are several examples of older adults being used by the Lord. Genesis 18:9-15 tells us that even at an advanced age, Abraham and Sarah would bear a child to fulfill God’s covenantal promises. In 2 Samuel 17:27-29; 19:31-38 we are told of an older man named Barzillai who intentionally served King David. Both the aged Simeon and Anna are discussed in Luke 2:22-38, as they witnessed and worshiped the new born Savior. And in Titus 2:1-5, both older men and women are instructed on how to conduct themselves and mentor those who are younger.
We can be A Witness to Future Generations. Some in the church might think that when they age, ministry has to “cease and desist”. But this is not God’s plan! The Lord still intends to use older adults to grow in their witness of Jesus Christ to future generations. As it is written in Psalm 71:17-18, “O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.”
Yes, my new age is just a number, but it has caused me to pause and do some reflection. And yes, I did used to think that 65 was old, but I have now changed my mind on the subject. So, even though my age is three score and five, I believe that the Lord is not through with me yet. Therefore, I have signed on for another year as your pastor and look forward to what God has in store for all of us at MCC.
Blessings to all!