"'Dan,' he said, 'someday you’re going to die.' And I wondered, what does that have to do with tax protest? 'And when you die,' he continued, 'you’re going to be remembered for something. You need to decide whether this is what you want to be remembered for.'" - Dan Olinger
I have always thought of jealous adults as childish. But as I thought more about the matter, I came to realize that many of the sins we see so clearly in childhood carry over into adulthood. We simply learn to hide them better. For many of us, the weaknesses and sins we displayed in childhood are still with us: jealousy, laziness, a critical spirit, fits of temper, etc.
The other day, I was teaching our AWANA kids about how Laban was jealous of Jacob. God blessed Laban with wealth (in those days, measured in livestock). Jacob, who started raising livestock with Laban’s rejects, began to catch up to and surpass Laban (Genesis 30-31). Laban and his sons became so jealous that Jacob and his family had to escape for their lives. Had God not warned Laban in a dream, he may well have killed Jacob.
Johann Strauss Sr. was a musical genius, but he envied his son, Johan Strauss Jr., who surpassed him in genius and fame. When we speak of the “Strauss Waltzes,” we are usually talking about the work of Johann Jr. Time and time again we hear stories of parents jealous of their children’s talents, beauty, or “breaks in life.” I am among those who want my children to have everything so that I can move in with them!
A.W. Tozer wrote,
O God, let me die rather than to go on day by day living wrong. I do not want to become a careless, fleshly old man. I want to be right so that I can die right! Lord, I do not want my life to be extended if it would mean that I should cease to live right and fail in my mission to glorify you all of my days!4
I find this would be the desire of most of the senior saints in our churches, but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. As they often say, “growing old isn’t for sissies.”
First of all, don’t give up! The apostle Paul told us to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). Our senior years are that last quarter of the race where the finish line is in sight, and though the strength is waning fast, we must keep looking unto Jesus Who is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). Scripture exalts the worthiness of the senior years, and our generation needs us even if they don’t realize it.
From Faith Pulpit, used with permission.
If you have ever heard someone say, “You just had to have been there,” or, “Hindsight is so much better than foresight,” then you are also hearing what senior saints often think in the church. No one knows how seniors think or feel until they’ve become one, and no one sees from their perspective until they’ve been a senior themselves. I turned 67 this year and only feel that I’m beginning to understand what many of these great saints are saying.
The seniors in our churches were the baby boomers of the post-war years. The Pew Research group says that they are now 28% of evangelical church attendance and make up about one-third of the total population. They also find that boomers don’t consider themselves “old” until at least age 72. On June 1, 2011, it is estimated that 10,000 boomers turned 65, and the trends show they are returning to church faster than other demographic groups. I would say that the percentage of seniors in our fundamental Baptist churches is higher than the national average.