Psalms 92:14-15 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
The first two verses of this Psalm are ingrained in my heart as a song, but when I’m less than a week from my 74th birthday, these two verses jump out at me! There is no such thing as “retiring” from being a child of God! There are certainly specific occupations from which retirement is appropriate, but the definition of “old” has certainly changed with advances in medicine and technology. Queen Elizabeth performed her duties magnificently all the way up to two days before her death at 96! Two specific things are mentioned here about the “senior years” of righteous people: they will bear fruit, and they will proclaim the goodness of God. Sometimes senior adults fail to see how they can keep bearing fruit, and that is sad. When we visited my mother’s sister-in-law, at a point when she was blind and largely bedridden, she complained to me about God not going ahead and taking her home. In the course of the conversation she told us about one of her grandsons who had almost divorced, but she had prayed for them and the marriage had been restored. I had the joy of pointing out to her that she was bearing fruit! I have always maintained that the fact that any of us is alive on earth means that God has something He wants us to do, however young or old we are. Some people exclude themselves, in their own minds, from serving God because they are “too young.” Paul spoke strongly to Timothy about that. (1 Timothy 4:12) Others, like my aunt, feel like they are too old to accomplish anything. God can use anyone, and He delights to do so. Particularly in a time when many educational institutions are poisoning the minds of young people, old people have an essential role to play, proclaiming the righteousness of God in the face of a flood of lying filth.
As I said, this is very personal for me at this point in my life. I just started a new semester at the nursing school where I teach, and the teacher who introduced me to the class (a former student of mine) told them that I was “unchanged” from when I taught her! That was a stretch, but I do feel like I have experienced the reality of this passage. Just this past Sunday, in some fellowship after the service, I was saying some things about retirement and my successor, whoever that might be. I got an instant chorus of people denying that inevitability! Actually, as I told them, I’m not going to shut up about God until I stop breathing, but at the same time I’m not to get in the way of younger people stepping up and exercising and growing in the gifts God has given them. So far I have had at least three people I thought would be my successor, and they have all gone off to do other things. I am actually honored at how many people have gone into full-time ministry, but they haven’t stuck around to do it here! I am to keep myself available for however the Lord wants to use me, but not insist that he use me either. My fruit, and my reward, are in His hands, subject to His timing alone.
Father, thank You for this very timely Word. You already had me speaking on Faithfulness tomorrow, and then we got the news of Queen Elizabeth. With Cathy’s current health issues it’s possible I will need to pull back from other activities to take care of her. I ask for clear guidance and for the wisdom to follow it accurately, so that in all things Your will may be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!