Mark Alan Williams
5 Reasons Getting Older Is Awesome!
Tomorrow is my 61st birthday
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I’m getting older, like it or not. But so are you and every other living being. It’s the way of the world. Life = ageing. The day after this post is published I’ll turn 61 (if I live that long)!
I don’t know who these folks are, but they look like they’re having fun getting older!
So far, ageing has been pretty good to me. Honestly, I’m enjoying life now as much or more than any other time in my life. With all the modern medical advances, there’s a fair chance I will not suffer much as I age. Getting older certainly isn’t as difficult as it used to be.
But still it is challenging and maybe you’re struggling with getting older. Perhaps you’ve faced:
The death of many loved ones
Financial strains related to ageing and poor health
Fear of death
All these are understandably challenging, and I’m not wanting to condemn. But let’s take a look at how getting older has positive benefits.
Here are 5 reasons why getting older is awesome for Christians:
01. Because wisdom usually increases with age.
“The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.” (Proverbs 20:29 NLT)
It’s great having the wisdom that comes from experience, both the bad and the good experiences. I love drawing on my experiences and others’ to determine what the best course might be.
It’s wonderful mentoring younger leaders with the wisdom gained over the years. I can help others avoid mistakes I’ve made.
Certainly I’m not saying that I know it all or that I don’t make mistakes anymore. But I do think I make less mistakes and know more than I used to, just because I’ve been around the block a few times.
Recently a friend who is almost the same age as me told how he shared financial advice with a mutual friend. His years of business experience were a great benefit that can help our friend avoid heartache. What a wonderful thing.
02. Because it often means more time to serve Jesus.
Every believer in Christ has a mission that can only be done on earth: making disciples. Mark Cahill wrote a book titled One Thing You Can’t do in Heaven. What is the one thing? It is evangelizing the lost, since there are no lost people in heaven.
Indeed, the Bible says “People die once, and after that they are judged.” (Hebrews 9:27 GW)
So his point is well taken. We have a lifelong purpose: witnessing for Christ.
My friend Josh McDowell said, “I want to take as many people to heaven with me as I can.” He wasn’t talking about a suicide bombing! He was talking about leading people to Jesus. I agree!
03. Because as I get older, it’s easier to focus on making an impact rather than making an impression.
All of us battle ego and pride, to some degree. I’m not sure we ever overcome it. But ageing helps me put pride into perspective.
Watching family and friends die has helped me realize that soon we’ll leave everything behind. All our earthly accolades and accumulation will mean nothing.
My wife Carolyn’s sister Gwen died from cancer at age 57. One of her memorable statements was that she was fascinated by how possessions, money and things completely lost their value as she faced impending death. Why? Because she was soon leaving them all behind.
A gift of ageing is that we can more easily practice this instruction; “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)
04. Because getting older often means an opportunity to know Jesus in a more intimate way through suffering
OK, this is kinda weird, I admit it. But here’s the wonderful truth: when people approach suffering with the right mindset, it can be a big blessing.
Recently my friend Sandy has faced cancer and major surgery. But her testimony is “it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
My friend Gerlanda says the same thing.
So did Carolyn’s sister Gwen as she was dying from cancer.
What’s with all that—how does it work? Here’s what I understand:
For a believer, facing death can bring an intimacy with Christ that comes through coming to grips with eternity. John testified, “And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” (1 John 2:17 NLT)
The closer a Christian gets to heaven the better heaven looks. Suffering makes believers long for the end of suffering and the paradise God has promised us.Facing death can help us strip away all the fluff of life. When that happens we can see things as they really are and get priorities in order.
Now I’m not praying that I get cancer. I’m just saying that suffering can bring blessings—the biggest is knowing Jesus like we’ve never known Him before.
The Apostle James wrote, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NLT)
05. Because the alternative to getting older is death.
OK, this one is a joke. Not because it isn’t true, but because for a believer death is a friend, not an enemy.
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55 ESV)
This is the subject of my next article, “How to Age Gracefully in the Light of Jesus’ Resurrection.”
For more biblical advice and insight into ageing, heaven and eternity, see my articles and podcasts:
Podcast: How can I age gracefully and productively to the glory of God?
How to Prepare for Eternity Now and Face Death with Confidence Later
Podcast: Why would God take away our free will in heaven for eternity?
Podcast: Isn’t Christianity arrogant to claim to be the only way to heaven?