The request was non-threatening. Would I be willing to share something encouraging with the senior citizens of our church at an up-coming, brunch? Several of them would be sharing their talent in music and song, and my friend was wondering if I might say a few words in between song sets. How could I refuse? Only after agreeing, did I realize that there is a big difference between writing words of encouragement in the form of a blog, from the comfort of my home, and speaking words of encouragement up in front of an audience.
Public speaking sends a chill down my spine and an embarrassing red flush up my neck. In my younger days, when I worked as the Director of Development for a Pregnancy Care Center, part of my job was to present our ministry at churches, both to increase awareness of our presence in the community and to gain financial support. With each presentation, my nerves would get less rattled, but I never became entirely comfortable with public speaking. After being out of the public speaking arena for several years, I'm willing to admit that 'nervous' would be a good word to describe me. But that's not the biggest of my concerns. What does a 40-something, year old woman, have to say to a group of senior saints who have life experiences that far outweigh those of my existence?
God's Word to the rescue. King Solomon gave a succinct, two verse, summary of life: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2; KJV) I've read some excellent commentary that likens spring with the season of our lives when we're born and begin to learn. Summer ushers in a planting season, when we begin to sow those things we've learned. We begin harvesting the things we've sown in the autumn of our lives. Perhaps the winter season of our lives helps us to see things with the most clarity. Material things lose their allure. Eternity is now in full view. We anticipate the heavenly rewards we'll receive from a lifetime spent planting, watering and sowing.
Most secular messaging would have us believe that senior citizens are a burden on society. Our Savior has a very different view. The elderly are to be respected for their wisdom and are crucial to the upbringing of the future generation. Titus 2:3-4 says, "3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children," (KJV) Again, King Solomon, in his wisdom and under divine inspiration, penned, "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness." (Proverbs 16:31; KJV)
We often associate the younger years with productivity and busyness. We define ourselves based on our career. As we grow older, our children leave home, and eventually we retire. How do we define ourselves now? If we use the world's standards of measurement to determine our self-worth, we will come up sadly lacking. I'm thankful that the truth can make us free (John 8:32). According to 1 Thessalonians 5:24, our God is faithful to call and equip us in every season of life, after all, "...we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10; KJV) Praise God there are no age requirements or limits associated with that statement. So no matter what your age, faith in God and obedience to Him are the keys to success in every season of life. What is God asking you to do today? Will you obey?