Adventure Without Expiration
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green. (Psalm 92:12-14)
How’s your 401K? Maybe you don’t have one or maybe, like me, you are investing into future growth. Perhaps you’ve cashed in a retirement account and your bank account is likely as large as it’ll ever be.
We Americans have been sold a lie and many of us have believed it and acted upon it. The lie is that we work for – and deserve – a cush 20 years after we’re done working. It’ll be great. Just picture it: golf and wine and leisure. Coffee on the porch. It’ll be just like heaven, albeit you might soil your pants every once in a while and your back will hurt. But it’ll be wonderful not to work anymore, to do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it.
It’s a lie.
Most people I know that retire in luxury become bored and trifling. Without much to do, the trivial seems so important. With more money and time than energy, if the retiree is focused on self-indulgence he will run out of indulgences and end up depressed.
Adventure Without Expiration
God invites us to so much more than comfort. He invites us into a life of terrifying adventure. A war of epic proportions and feasts that kings would be jealous of. We are made for an eternity, a forever life that starts with birth and does not end. Though the unbelieving world might suggest that you’re getting up in years and so you better make the most of this little stint of time you’ve got left, God says nothing of the sort.
Hunter S. Thompson famously said:
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!
I don’t know whether or not Thompson knew Jesus. I don’t think this quote came from a place of enjoying the adventure of life with Jesus. But this idea – to live our years with such vigor that we skid into the grave in heap – is worth pursuing with God.
Abraham was 100. Sarah was 90. When God told them they’d have a son together, tears of laughter ran down their wrinkled faces. What a joke! God, you’re so funny. Then Isaac was born.
R.C. Sproul is 77 and has written over 100 books. He is a brilliant teacher and pastor and continues his ministry to this day.
John Piper is 70 and writes and teaches voraciously. He has retired from his pastoral position at his church but he continues to preach and teach and minister.
C.S. Lewis slid in sideways, writing and teaching until he died at 64.
A man named Loren Wade worked past 103 years old at Walmart in Winfield, Kansas. He celebrated his birthday while working, with a huge smile on his face.
Mother Teresa served faithfully through health problems, spiritual doubts, and criticism until she passed away at 87.
Flip Your Thinking
God tells us in Proverbs 16:31 that gray hair is a crown of glory. So why do we dye it and inject our faces and try to appear younger? Why do we loathe our wrinkles when we earned them through living under God’s sun?
We celebrate youth. We ship off the old. This is not only historically odd, it is unwise. The sages of our lifetime are wasting away and their wisdom with them. What an opportunity we have to sit at their feet, celebrate them, and learn what God has taught them.
I recently heard of a young man who claimed that wisdom did not have to be acquired through time and age. He claimed that wisdom could be gleaned by learning from other people and could be accelerated. That’s laughable, but there’s a morsel of wisdom in this foolish thought. We do obtain wisdom by learning from other people, but those from whom we learn must acquire wisdom through a walk with God over time. (And yes, part of their acquisition of wisdom is from learning from those who went before them.)
Wisdom is earned, not learned. Share your wisdom with us.
Accept the Invitation
Whether you’re young, middle-aged, or old, God beckons. He invites you into a life of deep meaning and unfading joy. This meaning and joy are found in the person of Jesus Christ. And this meaning and joy might play out in a life of health and prosperity or it might play out in a life of hardship and disease. Circumstances aren’t promised to be sunny, but the adventure is worth it because we will get everything we have ever wanted in Jesus.
I have learned that when I pray and speak to God, He responds. And most often, His response is disruptive. It requires risk and probably brings inconvenience. I am only 32 but I’ve seen God do this enough times that I can’t help but smile when He prompts me in a weird direction. I know it’s going to be a wild ride and that no matter what happens, I’ll get more of Jesus. 1
Your relationship with God does not have an expiration date. He will not cease to challenge you to join Him in carrying out His will. May our golden years be marked with saying yes to every invitation and begging Him for more. May our walk with Jesus be wild and may we tumble into his arms with our final breath, only to enter a new and better realm with Him.