The Bible considers old age to be a blessing from God, a time when a person’s faith enables the impossible to become possible. Psalm 92 speaks of older adults being active, productive, and bearing fruit in the latter years of their lives.
Abram and Sarai were not young when the Lord instructed them, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” (Gen 12:1-2)
Indeed, both were of advanced age when Sarah gave birth to Isaak, the first of many, many generations to come of the people of God! How about you and I? We, too, shall bring forth fruit in old age!
Although we grow older with each passing year, our definition of an “older adult” tends to be someone who is about ten years older than we currently are. However, there is a great diversity among older adults. I personally know 75-year-olds who reside in assisted living facilities; and 75-year-olds who live at home and drive to church each Sunday; and 75-year-olds who enjoy backpacking in the Cascade Mountains, camping out under the stars.
Depending upon the criteria you choose as a measure, a person has several ages. These are:
- A Chronological Age – the number of years passed since birth;
- A Biological Age – a gauge of how well one has, or has not, taken care of one’s physical body;
- A Personal Age – how old you think you are.
Of the three, the last one is by far and away the most important because it influences how you think and act. Chronologically, someone may be way up there in years, but their Personal Age is much younger.
How can older adults share their experiences and bear fruit in old age? Older adults have a lifetime of stories and lessons, successes and failures, joys and sadness, health and sickness, laughter and tears.
You and I possess a wealth of wisdom, knowledge, and experience to serve our families, our communities, and the Church – and folks will know we are Christians by our love.
Thanks be to God!
Quentin A. Holmes
Central Presbyterian Church, Eugene, Oregon
The measure of life is not its duration, but its donation.