Philippians 1:21-26 – For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. (NIV)
Recently, while waiting to check out my purchases at the grocery store, I overheard the man in front of me complaining about the pains and difficulties of getting old. When it came my turn, the cashier said that she liked the cap I was wearing, the front of which read, "I'd rather be over the hill than under it." At age 77, it is easy to fall into the trap of complaining about the difficulties we all experience as age robs us of some of our freedom to carry on. With grandchildren to see growing into men and women, I pray to live long to see their lives unfold. My only complaint is that I cannot do as much for my Lord as I used to. That is why I recently accepted the offer to become a volunteer chaplain in a long-term home for the aged. As the saying goes, "I'd rather wear out than rust out."
How many others have found, even at an advanced age, that they can do much to help change the world for the better? I think of Konrad Adenauer, who, at 73, became the influential Chancellor of Germany; of Winston Churchill, who led Britain through the Second World War and was elected again the Prime Minister of England at age 77; or of Nelson Mandela, who became president of South Africa at age 76. As Saint Paul says in today's Scripture, "Yet what shall I choose? I desire to depart and be with the Lord, but it is necessary for you that I remain in the body. I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith." Let us all, young and old, work for the Lord, being worn out in His service rather than rusting away, doing nothing but waiting to go home.
Prayer: Lord, give us all the strength and joy of doing Your work with delight and thanksgiving, until You consider that our work is done and call us home to the glory of our new life in the mansion You have prepared for us. Amen.