How we deal with old age is one of the things that distinguishes Christians from those who reject the Bible as their guide for life. Coming from a family of atheists, I have witnessed how they dealt with aging. I have watched my atheist friends use cosmetic devices and surgery to avoid the consequences of age. Of course, no cosmetic treatment or surgical procedure can remove the aches and pains that time brings, but following Christ can make the golden years fruitful.
For Christians, getting older is a time of growth in understanding and wisdom. In Philippians 3:7-12, Paul talks about looking back on things that he thought were important and considering them “rubbish” and that he “counts all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” We can make the golden years fruitful by following the positive teachings of Christ.
We read in Acts 17:19 about Paul bringing his message to the Areopagus, where older Greeks learned new things. Today our Areopagus is the web where we can share information and ideas. This ministry reaches people of all ages with the message that science and faith are symbiotic. Our websites contain a wealth of new understandings. In addition to this site, please check out doesgodexist.org and doesgodexist.tv. Maturity allows us to challenge our old misunderstandings and learn new things. Biblical examples include Apollos in Acts 18:24-28 and Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:2-9.
We can make the golden years fruitful by repairing broken relationships. The Bible contains examples such as Jacob and Esau in Genesis 32-33, Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 45:4-5, and Jesus and Peter in John 21:7-17. Maturity is a time to overcome stubbornness and forgive. Jesus called His followers to forgive, but non-believers sometimes carry grudges to their graves. I have seen this happen in my family and friends who didn’t have a Christian basis for forgiveness.
The most significant benefit of being an older Christian is having a purpose in life. I have watched family members who retired from their secular employment or lost a spouse and had no life purpose as they died mentally, leading to physical death. Enjoying grandchildren, recreation, or hobbies lasts only so long. Having a purpose in life lasts right up to the end. Being a Christian in retirement allows me to devote much of my time and energy to the ministry that God has given me.
Matthew 25:31-46 lists things seniors can uniquely do to make the golden years fruitful. You can’t retire from God. Doing His will brings blessings beyond what the secular world can comprehend. Paul expresses this beautifully in 2 Timothy 4:6-22 as he looks back at his life, realizing it is about to end: “I am already being poured out on the altar, the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course….” Don’t let age rob you of the blessing of purpose and usefulness.
— John N. Clayton © 2023