Reformed Baptist Fellowship

A Challenge of Later Life

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on April 13, 2012 at 11:13 am

As one becomes older and nears the last quarter of the game, several temptations spring up.  Most often we are unprepared for these temptations and therefore are often ensnared by them, at least to some extent.

One temptation comes in connection with free time.  If retirement is an option, with that retirement there is a freedom not known since childhood perhaps.  I sometimes think of the joys of my childhood some of which joys I did not appreciate at the time.  One such joy was the lack of pressure and schedule.  I recall lazy summer days when apart from a very few chores entire days lay open before me.  Sadly I too frequently complained of boredom and drove my parents slightly mad asking for permission to go here or there or to  invite someone to spend the night.  Now I see more clearly what a blessing it was to be free of stress and free of demands.

I doubt that I will ever retire apart from a loss of health or the counsel of my brethren that it is no longer profitable for the church that I continue in ministry.  (Sometimes I do wonder if that time has already arrived and no one has the courage to tell me!)  However, I can imagine for those who are able to retire that it might be the  first time since childhood that they have known anything like unscheduled days and the freedom to choose to relax or to do whatever.  Now retirement age brings stresses that childhood did not for most of us—such as, financial concerns and health concerns and no doubt others.

My point is that with this new freedom there can be the temptation to slack off all responsibilities, especially church responsibilities.  Let the younger folk do the work and enjoy the freedom of not being tied down.  And there is a legitimate freedom that comes with retirement.  However, our most important service as Christians till the end of our lives is that which we render as living stones in the house of God.  We are beings belonging to the limits of this world.  Our role as living stones should not be thought as some mystical membership in the amorphous universal church.  We are individuals with bodies and with the limitations of space.  Our place in the church is a real place in a real identifiable local church.  Christ gave us our place and we cannot asked to be subbed out until He Himself removes us.  Our place and function in Christ’s church ought to be something we treasure  until the end.  Our prayer should be to abound always in the work assigned to us in our place until the end.

When Christ removes us He will fill our space and place.  However, until He does so we should purpose with joy to occupy our place and to contribute in it until our work in this world has ended.

It is a fact that the church needs the wisdom and experience and example of older saints no less than the energy and vision of young saints.  The beauty of Christ’s church is that it is multi-generational and hopefully multicultural.

Gary Hendrix, Pastor
Grace Reformed Baptist Church
Mebane, North Carolina
 
  1. The main thing is to redeem our time wisely. At 83 and with terminal cancer and on oxygen which limits my ability to do things, I look back and see how much time I wasted not doing things I could have done. I pray anyone reading this will take heart and to use their time wisely and for the Lord. I am thankful for all the opportunities I had to serve the Lord and did them so not all was wasted. But I could have done more.

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