As we begin 2021 you may be wondering what it holds for you. One thing is certain – you will find that God has a purpose in it for you.
As a matter of fact, He has ‘good works’ for you to do, right to the end of your life. They may not be big, obvious things - you may not turn into a public speaker, or an extrovert campaigner, but God has lined up ‘good works’ that may seem small and insignificant to you, but will encourage someone and even change the course of a life.
For example, a pastor’s wife who suffered from poor parenting once told me that as a child her life had been changed by a simple smile from a grown-up. It was the first time anyone had ever smiled at her: it pulled up out of a dark pit and showed her that not all grown-ups were dangerous. She remembered the smile all her life and was in her 60s when she told me about it.
Occasionally, you’ll hear an older person say, ‘What use am I to anybody at my age?’ The assumption is that your age reflects your value, which is totally incorrect! That’s an ageist view, not what the Bible has to say. Ephesians 2:10 makes it clear that God has equipped you and planned in advance all the ‘good works’ He intends to bring to you. You don’t have to go looking for them.
He has also been developing your character as you live in relationship with Him, so the characteristics for your good works in old age have been formed. Noted psychologist James Hillman, said, ‘let us entertain the idea that character requires the additional years. The last years conform and fulfil character.”
More than ever, people’s lives are touched by how we are, more than what we do. I expand on this in a talk on CRE TV.
Pleading for older people to comply with Covid rules just a little longer, psychiatrist Max Pemberton wrote, ‘While children are our future, they – older people – are the custodians of the past and the foundation of our society. Keep protecting yourselves. Your country needs you.’
It’s interesting that psychiatrists and psychologists and sociologists – experts in what makes people tick, can see God’s purpose for old age more clearly than we can ourselves. I felt so exercised by this that I wrote a book about it – What’s Age Got To Do With It? – in which I give examples of how God is using older people, some right to the very end.