“Don’t Let The Old Man In!”
But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the LORD’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.
A good friend of mine was discussing his weekly workout routine and why he works outs even though he has no upcoming athletic event. He told me; I don’t want to let the old man in. It wasn’t that he was angry at some old person but more that he didn’t want to give in to old age. He didn’t want anyone telling him he was old, even though he is getting older. He felt that if he gave in to being old it would be giving in to not living a productive life.
My friend knows he will age and knows there are somethings he cannot do athletically anymore. He will never swim an under 1 minute 100-meter butterfly again. But he can still swim a mile every day. This is what my friend was getting at. Sure those of us who are aging know our chances of competing in the Olympics are gone, but it doesn’t mean we should give up and let the old man in.
As I have gotten older, I see the slow creeping of aging. The unrelenting enemy of all is lurking to slow us down farther than we want or should. I myself know that my ability to retain information and then retrieve it isn’t as good as my younger self. But I have learned how to compensate, by writing more down and by using word association to retrieve important information. Each day, something new is lost, but each day a new way is found.
That is what my friend was saying when he says don’t let the old man in. Not a voice against the aged, but a personal life plan to stay as vital as he can be.
C.S. Lewis said; You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream. He is right. Tomorrow will always be a time to do something better than you did yesterday. Tomorrow will always be a time to love your children and spouse better than you did yesterday. Tomorrow will always be a time to dream or have a new goal, more than you did yesterday.
Aging is never going to give up in its relentless pursuit to slow us down. Though in Psalms we hear the writer’s voice say; Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. God doesn’t want us to give up or give in. God wants us to produce fruit and dream.
Because we are older it doesn’t mean we still can’t do great things. My friend Larry is a soccer referee and weekly he logs over 70 miles as a referee. He is over 60. Another friend, Peter, became an ordained minister after the age of 60. Still another, Walter, has written three books after he retired.
Mother Teresa still helped the poor of the world when she was 87. Wilbur Wilberforce was 73 when he was still fighting to end slavery in the United Kingdom. Jimmy Carter still works building houses for the poor. He is 95. I am sure you know people well past 60 who are vital. There is always some way we can make the world better no matter how old we become.
Aging will continue to erode who we are but never can erode our desire to be better tomorrow. Age is our enemy, but God is our friend.
We can give in or turn to God for guidance. Our love for and desire to know God, doesn’t age. In fact, as we age God becomes clearer. God doesn’t want us to sit on the couch and wait. God was us to be vital and green. God still wants us to produce fruit. God wants us to be like the cedars of Lebanon that the Psalmist wrote about.
I don’t think I will ever forget this message from my friend, don’t let the old man in. Aging is just another one of those things that lurks to slow us down. A marauding force that seeks to destroy; like drug addiction or any other temptations. For those of us aging, it is just a new enemy to battle and with God’s help, we can still be vital.
Listen to the Full Podcast – Don’t Let the Old Man In
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
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