It is my observation that there seems to be a de-emphasis on our need, as disciples of Jesus, to continue pursuing holiness once we reach a certain age. Like most cultural influences, there is a subtleness to it. One example I see is that a majority of platforms are now filled by young, hip, fashionable, and smooth communicators. Most often under the age of 50.
For a vast majority of the Christian community approaching their 60’s, the sphere of influence and opportunities to serve seem to be more narrowly defined. However, I want to propose that it is at this stage of life we can be our most effective. Although it may require significant creativity and initiative to increase, or even sustain, our usefulness to the kingdom of God.
Retaining usefulness as we age
Herein lies the catch! We could be (or should be) at our best as we age. Not surprisingly, this does not occur on its own! It occurs ONLY to the extent we stay committed to seeking God with our whole hearts. To staying true to Gospel-inspired choices and decision-making.
It is interesting to consider that the concept of “retirement” was only invented about 130 years ago. At its origin, its purpose was to help provide the younger generation with employment opportunities. Since that time, however, the Western world has created a model for retirement that promotes a life of leisure and relaxation. Thus, retirement often becomes marked by an inactive and self-pleasing lifestyle.
Sadly, this approach does not accurately reflect the teaching of Scripture. Secular studies have also shown that such lifestyles actually shorten our life span and speeds up the normal rates of deterioration of our faculties.
Living with influence
Friends, your 4th quarter of life is not the time to take your foot off the gas pedal. It IS the time to maximize and focus your efforts on the things that are the most valuable. I believe there are people and organizations in desperate need of the wisdom you have (hopefully) acquired throughout your life. Will you choose to use the final chapters of your life to consistently make deposits into them?
This season of life is not the time to give less, pray less, or share less. Rather, our lives are now seasoned, allowing us to better testify to what God has done. To be able to share what we have learned through the journey. The 4th quarter of life is the time to aspire and strive to make our latter years the very best and most fruitful of all.
Fight the Good Fight
I believe it is at this time we have the most to offer and the greatest opportunity to be an influence for God’s kingdom. Doesn’t it make sense that the enemy of our souls, the devil, would want to distract us? Don’t let him! Choose to finish strong and seek God with all your heart, so that you may be like a tree planted by rivers of water, bringing forth fruit in great abundance (Psalm 1:3, ESV).
At Q4, we want to encourage you to never stop growing! Choose to resist the ease of a sedentary or complacent life. Instead, will you choose a lifestyle of continual learning marked by an openness to hear from God?
As we face retirement, we still have a great privilege – and responsibility – to make “room” for the younger generations. There are amazing opportunities to be spiritually inspiring all the way to the very end of your life! Will you do it by modeling what it means to be continually transformed into the image of Christ?