David Shannon – Aging Fruitfully (Psalm 92:12-15)
12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, 15 to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
An employer was looking to hire a new employee and he had several applicants and so he decided to give him all the tests to see how they would handle questions that deal with an intricate thought process to see how wise the person would be and so he gave a situation that there was a horrible storm thunder lightning a lot of rain and you’re driving one of the person standing there is your old friend that you haven’t seen in a long time but one time they saved your life the other person standing there is an elderly person that is so sick that they look pathetic and they’re on their way to the emergency room and the third person standing there and by the way in this scenario you’re single is the person of your dreams but you can only give one person arrived so what do you do out of all the applicants there was only one person that gave this answer and they got the job he said I would get out of the car I tossed the keys to my old friend and asked them to give a ride to the elderly person to the emergency room I’d grab my umbrella and stand next to the person of my dreams and we’d wait on the bus together isn’t it interesting how some time in life we see things in a very negative connotation I don’t know exactly what to do with this negative situation and yet at the very same time someone can take that exact situation and make it seem so positive and we can have that aha moment I never looked at it that way you realize that the way the world looks at aging is nothing the way God looks at aging if the world ever comprehended the way the Lord looks at aging it would be probably one of the biggest aha moments that you adhere across and around the world let’s just for a moment think about aging and let’s take a really quick trip down memory lane when’s the last time you’ve said these words fender skirt you probably had said that lately have you when’s the last time you’ve said curb feelers steering knobs you know that’s so you could still keep your arm around her while you made sharp turns with no power steering when’s the last time that you’ve talked about a foot feed or you’ve used your left foot to dim the lights when’s the last time you’ve gone to shop and you were really excited about store-bought clothes or store-bought cookies you know I’ve mentioned to you I grew up on a farm and you’re probably some of you probably believe this I this is as true as true can be when i was a teenager i’d go spend the night with some of my friends that lived in town and and mom would pick me up and usually the first thing i would say to her when when we when i get in the car i’d say mom you wouldn’t believe what we had for breakfast this morning that’s why i said we had 10 biscuits and i just couldn’t believe it they were they were so good because they tasted different from any biscuits that I ever had and of course now you know which ones i like better of course but but yeah the store but when’s the last time that you’ve read an ad for a house for sale and the leading item to advertise the house is wall-to-wall carpeting because nowadays they want the old stuff again I remember growing up and getting out of the bed in the wintertime the wood stove was on the other end of the house I had the furthest room away from the wood stove and I would get up and I would put I feed on that old hardwood floor and then again I’d go to my friends they had carpeting and I’d say to myself one of these days I’m gonna have enough money to have carpeting and now I have carpeting wall to wall and my wife says I sure do wish we could get some hardwood floor I said honey there’s a lot of things I do for you but one thing I’m not doing is giving up my carpet I’m sorry that that’s not that’s not a compromise right there when’s the last time you said percolator that’s just kind of fun to say mr. coffee come took that away from us when’s the last time you SAT around the table and you he said let’s sit down for supper yo I’m amazed at all these city folks I think that supper is dinner everybody knows that lunch is dinner and supper is supper and and so how about this how about if you get with some folks and invite them to supper tonight and sit around and talk about fender skirts and and reminisce and enjoy as you go down memory lane when we look at at the possibility of aging fruitfully a lot of people would say you’re just trying to put a clever spin on something to make older people feel good no we’re seeing what God has designed for those who are aging and what God has designed is something beautiful and it’s something powerful I loved when Alan mentioned this session last night he brought out something that we’re going to kind of refer to here but we will not develop it but I want to encourage any of you that are leaders in the Lord’s Church to realize that what he referenced and what these will kind of speak to is is I believe to be one hundred percent true the churches that thrive in our next generation one of the reasons they’re going to thrive I’m not saying it’s the only reason one of the reasons they’re going to thrive it’s because they’re going to figure out that one of the greatest underutilized resources in the church today are the retirees they now have longer years of healthy living many of them have great financial resources many of them have tremendous skills and a abilities that have been fine-tuned and many of them are highly intelligent many of them have a great desire to continue living and our little community our community has a Senior Citizens Center maybe your community has one of those it wasn’t just about 10 or 15 years ago that the regular thing at centers like that was to be open just a few hours a day and play dominoes in route the joke was you go there to die that’s not the case anymore now community centers for the seniors they’re filled with exercise equipment they’re filled with community opportunities this elementary school needs 10 of us to help this this this next semester in tutoring in teaching how to read this community project the help center needs 10 of us to volunteer once a week even our communities are figuring out that I was talking to the director of that Center a while back and she said our people in America today are not retiring with the same mindset when we as the church learn to capitalize on that those churches are going to have amazing experiences and ministries here’s just some facts to consider in the last 110 years life expectancy has increased 32 years let that sink in just a little over century I’m a little bit over 46 I just turned 50 but I want you to imagine this my dad is 79 now just imagine my dad standing here and imagine me standing here and imagine just about just a little over a century ago I would have lived beyond several years beyond life expectancy and my dad had just lived one year beyond life expectancy we’re talking about an entire generation has been added in the last century when you look at it that way two-thirds of all people who have ever lived past 65 in the history of the world are alive today that’s that’s hard to comprehend persons reaching the age of 65 have an average life expectancy now keep in mind we’re not talking about total life expectancy we’re saying if you reach 65 for that group that’s reach 65 what now becomes their life expectancy and for women it is around 20 years and for men it is around 18 years that when you look at a 65 year old we’re saying hey what are you going to do with the next 20 years of your life true story i sat down just last week to talk to a man who is passionate about a project he’s working on I didn’t know the man well and I didn’t know his age and and he he’s telling me about what he’s wanted to accomplish in this project and he wanted to know if I wanted to be involved in it and it was it was a huge project it’s amazing and then at one point he said just like this he said I know he didn’t say no he said I figure I might have 10 really good years to get a lot done and I just want to make the most of it I thought to myself that’s that’s pretty neat and then he finished with these words I’m 85 right now that’s the mindset that is the mindset that is among our people today you know we used to think retire and prepare to die our generation now of retirees in the Lord’s Church do not think like that at all and I’d also say to you God doesn’t think like that at all either futurists can ditch what claims that the longevity revolution is what he calls this will have a greater impact on our country in its history than either the industrial are the technology revolutions of the past two centuries I’m not asking you to agree with him that boggles my mind to think that that might be true but I do ask you to enter that arena of thought have we comprehended accepted and move forward with the fact of there is a revolution taking place in other words there’s something so big so massive it’s going to change exactly how we live what is it is it technology no well that revolutions happen and we’re living in that tech the world is it industry well that industrial revolutions happen and we’re living in that industrial world what about this world that now has tacked on an entire generation that’s still alive over the next hundred years that is having a major impact in our world in our culture within communities but now we need to give some thought does it make an impact in the churches that we’re a part of we’ve got to figure this one out there’s just it’s too good to be true it’s too much there are too many opportunities twenty-five percent of the US population today is over 55 years of age it’s estimated in just about 30 more years from now it will be one-third of the population presently there are 10,000 people retiring a day here how do you reach those retirees in your community that retire and are not Christians what could you offer that would entice them to say here’s where i would like to invest my life from here out and teach them the gospel how powerful would that be seventy percent of the u.s. disposable income is controlled by seniors listen we know that the Lord owns everything right he owns the cattle on all the hillsides but the reality is it costs money to do the Lord’s work do we realize that if we tap in to this generation and they are fully convicted converted and holy generous think about what the Lord’s Kingdom could do I’m amazed and saddened when I talked to wealthy individuals and they asked me advice to say where do you think all to leave money and I’m talking about some time millions and millions of dollars you know what never comes to their mind the Lord’s Church never comes their mind because they don’t know of any church that would know how to use it effectively we dream too small I shouldn’t be saying that in the house of this congregation this congregation is the exception this congregation is is is the standard that a lot of us ought to wake up to and realize but for most of us we dream too all our people would have no reason to leave us a hundred thousand or a million or 25 million because we don’t have anything to do with it because we’ve never showed a desire to do more than the little bit that we do day to day listen if we were people a vision if we were really serious about reaching the world and we had a plan and a dream to do so the money is in your pues every week to do it it’s there the problem is not the resources the problem is a lack of leaders with large enough vision and I’m starting on these toes but that is that is what we need to look at that next time 1 trillion dollars in spending power is in the lives of our seniors so what’s the hope what’s the hope from God’s Word will you read with me as we read a few verses here in 12 through 15 of Psalm 92 the righteous now there’s a lot of conditions in this it’s not just any who age okay and and so notice it’s the righteous in their aging shall flourish like a palm tree you know how when you look across a desert and it looks like everybody else is not flourishing but then you see that one palm tree and you say how does that palm tree do so well when everything else around them is not doing well well that’s what happens when a righteous person ages they flourish like a palm tree he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon you know all throughout the Old Testament poetry that that the Cedars in Lebanon were so green so thick so tall and so it’s it’s showing tremendous growth here by by using that description of the Cedars then in 13 still those that are aging those who are planted where is it in the house of the Lord in the New Covenant we would understand that to be the church those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish that’s powerful that that literally means to bud forth and to grow now I want you think usually we don’t think about in aging is to time to bud forth and grow some wood picture well aging is when you just kind of reached that point where you just kind of stopped producing fruits you kind of stopped growing you just the winner of life and you just kind of look at at not doing much from here on not not in the Lord’s Church in the Lord’s Church the righteous will flourish they will continue growing they will even bring forth new buds in the courts of our God they shall still see some people would doubt that so he doesn’t just say they’ll bear fruit he says they shall still bear fruit in old age they shall be fresh that’s the idea of renewed and flourishing that’s a little bit different Hebrew word there than then back up in 13 but it means pretty much the same thing this word flourishing here has to do with being green and growing and so they’re still going to be renewed they’re still going to be growing in verse 15 what are they going to do to declare that the Lord is upright he is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in him so he said back in 13 that those who are aging righteously are those who are planted in the house of the Lord and that they shall flourish how are they going to flourish there are a lot of ways but one of the things that I want you to see this morning is that we can quickly see four principles and there are a lot more than this but why is the Lord’s Church the place to age number one it’s a place to be honored number two it’s a place you’ll be accepted number three you won’t be accepted at arm’s length you’ll be held near and number four you’ll be served among Christians let’s see it here Leviticus 19 and 32 you shall rise before the grey-headed that’s showing respect and honor the presence of an old man now why would we do this he says and fear your God those to go in conjunction you want to fear your God you want to show reverence to God okay God how do you want us to see the aging in our congregation do you want us to see them of diminishing essence diminishing Worth and he says oh no no no think about is God describing his family God says the way I designed life and the way I designed family is that the older you are the greater honor that you deserve and so you literally stand to show that respect and you give genuine honor in the presence of the older person because we fear God we reverence God and he is the Lord proverbs 23 and 22 says listen to your father who begat you and do not despise your mother when she is old it may be that some in the world think that those that are older just don’t have a lot to bring into the younger person’s life but if the younger people and when I say younger I mean younger middle-aged those that are younger than those that are older if we are allowing the Lord to shape our mindset we realize what the older have to bring to the table and we appreciate it and we feed off of that and we definitely do not despise the older so I’m 71 and 9 do not cast me off in the time of old age do not forsake me when my strength fails me we because of our God understand the sanctity of life that’s not just the appreciation and the value of life when it’s in the womb we appreciate the sanctity of life as long as there is life so even the older person that’s aging that may not have the strength to contribute in a great way to the world about them does not mean that they lose value the person that we would use the expression today and say they’re bedridden still has as much value as anyone in this room God teaches his people to understand that and so because of that we don’t cast anyone off we do not forsake them that’s why throughout the ages it was Christians that first reached out and helped the sick instead of discarding them it was many Christian churches or organizations that started hospitals when you think about nursing homes what where’s the where’s the beginning where’s the origin of nursing homes it’s going to have Christian roots most of the time when we see orphans home where’s the roots of that it’s going to have Christian roots why because it’s in our faith as we are taught by God to value all life tremendously and they’re also going to be served we’ve got to do this Wow where did time is that really just five minutes am I reading that wrong eight minutes okay you know first first Timothy 5 we’ve got to honor our widows and and you know in this passage it teaches that if they’re in our physical family that’s where the first priority starts and we show potty at home you know potty if it’s towards God if this word is toward god it’s reverence like a worship but if it’s toward humans it is like a support that word carries with it you help them physically you support them but also financially you help them financially and support them and if we wouldn’t do this we’ve denied the faith and we’re worth worse than an infidel and if there is no family to take care of that who that one who is truly a widow the church is to take on that responsibility because the church is the place to grow old that’s the message we need to hear that’s the message we need to get out you will not be taken care of in your old age anywhere else on earth like you will in the Lord’s Church as long as that place truly is the Lord’s Church noticing the next verse in verse 14 he talks about that you’ll flourish in the courts of our God and they shall be fresh and flourishing renewed do you realize that second Corinthians 4 and 16 makes a powerful statement that the world there’s no reason for them to understand this but we must understand it this is like the really good news second Corinthians 4 and 16 therefore we do not lose heart you know this chapter begins in verse 1 but talking about do not lose heart and so you have two bookends and any of you ministers they’re looking for a great study how do people not lose heart how do people not lose heart in ministry all through these 16 verses developed how we do not lose heart and so this is the end of this and he says therefore we do not lose heart even though our outward man that’s the physical body is perishing in other words it’s getting older and older and it is getting closer to death but yet the inward man is being in there that is that idea of refreshing that is being renewed it is being in a sense of younger meaning stronger more vibrant all the time how wonderful it is whenever we realize what the older generation brings to the table because just like we think about okay maybe in your 20s physically you might have been the strongest you’ve ever been maybe you were the fastest that you’ve ever been and and here in America we are really tied in to that generation you know people no one goes in and has cosmetic surgery and says hey can you make me look like I’m maybe 70 you know what they may be they may or they may not say can you make me look 20 but even if they don’t use that phrase like I want to look 25 everything they describe is like a 25 year old in other words this idea hey can you make me that young and vibrant and strong person again you know what we ought to do we ought to have that same desire except inwardly and pray and say Lord I want to be wise like those people that the longer they live in your will the stronger the fit that they are they are tremendous people of wisdom of faith of godliness we don’t have anybody among us that has lived this for this length of time and has showed this and here we are as younger we ought to have that that prayer that that expectation up on ourselves that’s what we want to become and so when we think of examples of inward aging okay this is negative this is inward aging and I’ll just throw out a few believing you’re useless you bought into a lie you are agent you should be getting younger let me tell you how about you should be getting stronger more fit in wordly and so so this is a problem if you believe you’re you was thinking you’re too old to learn feeling the best days are past you know physically the best days maybe pass but but spiritually in faith the best days hopefully if not passed for you I’d be terrible if they have having an attitude which is grumpy you know I heard years ago I don’t think I’ll ever forget it you know someone says while they grew old and grumpy and I says no they were grumpy and grew old and it was uh you know if you stop and think about it that’s really how it usually works when you see that that older person you say they grew old and became the sweetest person know they were the sweetest person who grew old all right are living as you present your faith are living as if your present faith will sustain you to death I hope that there is no older person hearing this that it’s thinking when you know I’ve arrived to my faith I kind of hit autopilot and I can kind of coast nobody can coast in their faith don’t stop living and growing inwardly and so I’d like for you notice in verse 15 this last thing that he says in the last part of this chapter he’s talking about the righteous flourishing in their old age and how in their old age they will still bear fruit and they will be renewed and fresh and then I want you to notice God said that if you will do this you will make a declaration and how you’re living now let that sink in for a minute the idea of declaring something is is to hold it up and present it clearly and boldly that’s the idea of declaring something you know if someone if they really do declare something you don’t walk away saying I don’t really know what they just said or I don’t really know if they believe that he’s saying the way the righteous age ages makes a declaration what’s the declaration number one it says look at the Lord he’s upright he’s the one to live for and if you don’t believe it you look at that older person you look at their life you look at their faith the lord is upright the second thing they declare here is he’s my rock I think about some of the aging people that I’m around and when I see them I am humbled almost beyond humility to see their faith to watch a woman that’s buried two husbands two children two grandchildren and still get up every day and look for things to do in the lives of others even if it’s as simple as going out and cutting butter cups and dropping them off at six different places all I had to do was see her and I was reminded of how our God is a mighty rock how else can you go through that and remain so strong and so faithful and optimistic because of our God and then there’s no unrighteousness in God you’re not going to age with God and then get toward the end and say that was a hoax that wasn’t a good life think about it everybody you know that has aged with God everybody you know that has aged with God gets the end and says I wouldn’t want to live any other way everybody you know how powerful is that their life declares God’s not unrighteous god is awesome let’s bow most gracious God we thank you for loving us for giving us life and for showing us how to live life no matter what age we are today God we pray that our life will declare your righteousness your strength your faithfulness and your goodness and God especially for the older lives that are being lived around us we thank you for them we thank you for the example we thank you for the great work that they continue to do and we pray that you bless them today with every need that they would have to continue to shine your light God we pray for ourselves as a church your church your people and we ask you to give us wisdom to best know how to utilize all of the many resources that you give us that we could do and become the greatest good in your kingdom and it’s through your son’s name we pray amen
What Does the Bible Say About Retirement?
12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.