FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH
309 East North St. Sidney, Ohio 45365
937-492-4909

 
 

Scripture:  Joshua 14:6-14                                                                                                                                                                        December 2, 2018
Sermon: Wanted:  Senior Saints!                                                                                                                                Pastor John Young
     
Last week we returned to the sermon series on some essentials Christians must maintain if we are to survive in our current aimless and wandering generation.  We need to live by priorities, with integrity, disciplined and submitted to authority.  Today we want to take a look at retirement and the growing need for Senior Saints!
      Are you getting old?  In case you’re not sure, you might want to examine these symptoms.  You can tell you are getting old when....

  • Your back goes out more than you do; 
  • You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it started;
  • Everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work;
  • You sink your teeth into a juicy steak, and they stay there!
  • You finally reach the top of the ladder and find it leaning against the wrong wall.
  • You turn out the lights for economic rather than romantic reasons.
  • You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine cabinet.

      There’s another way to tell¾the value society places on you.  While working in the private sector, I found it very troubling when senior men, who had given the good years of their lives to promote and advance the company, were forced into retirement because of their age.  Unfortunately, our mover-and-shaker culture doesn’t highly esteem its senior citizens.  In Bible time, however, the elderly were respected rather than ridiculed.  Gray hair was a shining crown of glory¾not a label of uselessness!
      Well, if you tend to look down your nose at the elderly, or if you feel you’re too old to be useful¾I hope today’s sermon will be helpful for you.
I.   General Attitudes Towards Aging.
A.  Before we explore the positive perspective the Bible shines on aging, think with me for a moment about the negative attitudes held by those who struggle with getting old.
1.  Uselessness:     They say or think, “I’m over the hill.......I’ll just be in the way....I really don’t have much to contribute anymore.”
a.   Too many senior men and women believe that, like the old jalopy in the garage, they belong to another era, and they don’t quite fit in today’s world!
2.  Guilt:       They are haunted with thoughts like, “I’ve blown it...If only I could do it all over again...If only I had a second chance.”
a.   Some older people look back over their lives feeling a burden of guilt¾living in the thoughts of what they should have done, or thing they left undone.
3.  Self-pity:                        Falling somewhere between blame and bitterness, self-pity cries out, “Nobody cares about me anymore....Nobody cares if I hurt....Nobody cares if I die.”
a.   Self-pity can banish a person to solitary confinement.  “I don’t want to be involved in anything!  I don’t want to see anyone!”
4.  Fear:        Understandably, many of our older folks are afraid.
a.   Some fear just trying to survive in a world that is moving too fast.
b.   Others fear the prospects of fading or failing health.
c.   Perhaps they fear loneliness, or becoming dependent.
d.  “What if...” and “I can’t....” start a lot of their sentences.
[These four attitudes may not sound so intimidating to a 20 year old, but to those in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s they are formidable foes that occupy the mind a lot!]
II.  God’s Attitude Towards Aging.
A.  But let’s turn our attention away from these negative attitudes for a moment, and consider what God says about the subject.
1.  Turn with me to Psalms 90.  This psalm was written by a man named Moses!
a.   Psalm 90 tells us about an eternal God, who existed before the mountains, who created the earth, and who in fact, lives outside time itself (vss 1-2).  But unlike God, as Moses points out, people have to deal with the reality of getting old.  Notice this in verses 3-6 & 9-10.
b.   No wonder some people get discouraged about aging!
1)  This psalm sums up our lives on earth as¾we sprout, we wither, we die!  How encouraging????!??!??
c.   But wait, the value of our life isn’t measured by the number of our years but by the quality of our days.  This is why Moses prayed for the best use of his life in verse 12.
d.  Moses teaches us this principle¾each day is a gift from God.  Therefore, we should live each one enthusiastically for HIM!
[God’s attitude concerning aging is not just confined in the person of Moses.]
2.        Consider the life of Caleb!
a.   At 85 years of age, most men would be displaying the bumper sticker on their RV¾“I’m spending my children’s inheritance.”
b.   Not Caleb!  Israel has just conquered the Promised Land, and Joshua has begun to divide the land to the tribes.  Caleb speaks up!¾Listen to him in verses 6-8 of Joshua chapter 14.
1)  At 85 years of age his recollection of the past and his request for land reveal a lust for life that must have put the younger men to shame!
2)  He’s ready to move ahead and start a new chapter of life¾even as a senior citizen!  Notice verses 10-12.
c.   Most of us at 85 would prefer some nice level ground where we could build a house with a screened-in porch and rocking chairs¾especially after wandering around the wilderness for 45 years!  Not Caleb!  Give me that mountain!
d.  Three lessons stand out from Caleb’s life:
1)  It’s possible for life’s greatest achievements to take place in the waning years of our life.
2)  There is no such thing as retirement from our walk with the Lord.
3)  Remaining vital and involved depends a lot on our attitude!
a)  Douglas MacArthur said on his 75th birthday, “In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber.  So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage....so long are you young.  When the wires are all down and your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then have you grown old.”
III.        Good Attitudes Toward Aging.
A.  How did Caleb come to have such a strong and healthy attitude?  The answer is found in verse 14, “...he wholly followed the LORD...”
1.  Listen!  Just because your skin wrinkles doesn’t mean your walk with the Lord has to shrivel up!
a.   Your faith should increase with age!  Look back on all that God has done for you!
b.   Why!  What makes you think the God of yesterday is through with you now?  There are yet a great many things God has to accomplish through you!
c.   You may not be physically as strong as Caleb, but you can follow his lead to the top of the mountain of faith and view life as a challenge instead of a threat!
      Dr. Albert Schweitzer was eighty-five years old when he was visited by a young friend in his jungle hospital at Lambarene, on the banks of the Ogowe River.  The three-day visit left a deep and profound effect on the young man, but one event stood out above all others.  He writes:
      It was about eleven in the morning.  The equatorial sun was beating down mercilessly, and we were walking up a hill with Dr. Schweitzer.  Suddenly he left us and strode across the slope of the hill to a place where an African woman was struggling upward with a huge armload of wood for the cook fires.  I watched with both admiration and concern as the eighty-five-year-old man took the entire load of wood and carried it on up the hill for the relieved woman.  When we all reached the top of the hill, one of the members of our group asked Dr. Schweitzer why he did things like that, implying that in that heat and at his age he should not.  Albert Schweitzer, looking right at all of us and pointing to the woman, said simply, "No one should ever have to carry a burden like that alone."
      There is so much you can do for the cause of Christ!  Please!  Don’t give up!  You can share the burden of life’s load with so many young people.  In this aimless and wandering generation, we need your wisdom!  Please!  Don’t retire from God!  Keep on the firing line!