GROWING OLD

Johnny Ramsey
Gospel Minutes Vol 51, No 5 (Feb 1, 2002).

JUST THE OTHER DAY I reached birthday number 70! It is hard to believe that so many years have passed so swiftly. For 52 years I have preached the gospel of Christ. God and my brethren have been very good tome. In nearly 20 nations and 45 states, the Lord has allowed me to spread the glad tidings of redemption. Through the printed page, television and radio, gospel meetings and lectureships, I have been truly privileged to tell the grand old story of salvation. I am profoundly grateful. I sincerely hope that Browning's words hold true:

Grow old along with me,
The best is yet to be.

The Bible declares, They shall still bring forth fruit in old age" (Psalm 92:14). The Wise Man, in Ecc.12, paints a graphic portrait of how things are for the elderly:

Eyes grow dim Hearing is impaired
Teeth fall out
We get up earlier
Hands tremble
Strength declines
Hair turns gray

These things remind me of an old gospel song:

We are going down the valley one by one;
We are going toward the setting of the sun.

This is an extremely challenging time for those of us in the twilight of our sojourn here on earth. We must not become bitter, pessimistic nor complaining. We should look for the silver lining, the beautiful rainbow and the encouragement of good brothers and sisters in Christ. Recently a good friend shared with me the humor that goes along with the optimistic view we must develop. Think about these benefits of aging:

Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

In a hostage situation, you are released first.

You enjoy hearing about other's operations.

Your secrets are safe with your friends, because they can't remember them anyway.

The aging process makes some folks so bitter that they spend their last days alone because no one enjoys their company. Christians should always strive to be gracious and loving as they mature in the Lord. Being kind and considerate of elderly members of the body of Christ is time and effort well spent. The encouragement and comradeship will bless both old and young. The Scriptures give us comfort as we press toward the end of our days on earth: "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:7).

As we approach the evening shades of our stay on earth, we should have a deeper and richer faith in God. Our prayer life should be at zenith capacity and our sincere longing for that home in heaven should be an inspiration to others. God says, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life" (Prov 4:23). Pressing on to higher ground will increase our resolve and deepen our insight into those matters that count. Blazing down the final lap of this temporary existence will give us reason for the hope within our hearts. The beauty of 1 Peter 5:4 will challenge our days continually: "And when the chief Shepherd shall be manifested, ye shall receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away." May we come to the last golden sunset of our existence here with joy in our hearts and smiles on our faces!


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