Age and Works

I’m not making as good use of my blog as I should and I realize I should do something about it. What I should do is write more often. This will require discipline on my part, but surely the resulting benefits will be worth the effort.

I meditate a lot on Scripture. I do this almost everyday. So what I intend to do is simply write down my reflections on the particular passage I happen to be meditating on.

“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first” (Revelation 2:19 NKJV).

I’m certifiably old now. I’ve been living in denial of my age for years now, but gradually one comes to accept the inevitable: time flies by, people grow old, and I now belong to that class of people who are certifiably old . (Although I’m not that old. See, denial is so hard to overcome!)

As I grow older, I’m inclined to work less, to serve less. When I was younger, I had more energy and I served a lot. I remember a song from the 80’s (or maybe it was from the 90’s). I think it was by Scott Wesley Brown. It had a line in it about preaching and teaching more and more. And that was what I was doing at that time: preaching almost every Sunday, teaching a class in our local seminary, speaking to youth groups – all this even though I wasn’t a pastor but a practicing lawyer who was also teaching in law school.

Now, decades after, I preach only occasionally (although I do share a devotional every other week with a small group of relatives) and I don’t teach law anymore. My practice is not as hectic as that of most lawyers in my city, as I focus on serving only a few loyal clients who’ve been with me through thick and thin for almost all of my professional life. One would think that I would have more time to serve in church. But that’s not the case. I have less energy than I used to have and I’ve tried to be more strategic in my activities, i.e., I try to focus only on a few things that I can do really well and that yield the greatest results. I try not to carry burdens I don’t believe I was intended to carry. And I concentrate on cultivating the field I was assigned to till, instead of meddling in another person’s calling. Age, less energy, and the growing realization that I have fewer years ahead of me than I used to have, makes you do that.

But while reflecting on Jesus’ words above, I was struck by the phrase, “as for your works, the last are more than the first.” Is it the case that when a disciple of Jesus Christ grows older, she should be serving more than ever? I remember Caleb in the Old Testament telling Joshua, “Give me this mountain!” In other words, he was saying, “I may be old, but I still have it in me to take on this formidable challenge and succeed!”

Maybe this giving in to old age is premature. Anyway, I’m not that old. (See, I did it again!) But the thought that the Lord commended the church in Thyatira because their last works were more than the first, inspires me. Maybe it’s not really fatigue that hinders me but an attitude of capitulation.

May the Lord renew my mind as well as my strength!

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