Few things are more discouraging than a crusty old woman or a dirty old man. Few things, on the other hand, are more encouraging than an elderly person who is growing in the sweet grace and knowledge of Christ.
The psalmist says this of the righteous:
Psalm 92:14–15 (ESV)
They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
I’ll tell you what comes immediately to mind as I read and pray through this verse for our church family. I love the picture of the dazzling colors of the sap-sprouting hardwoods of the Northeastern United States in the fall. Last October, Noel and I took a trip to visit Sarah Warde, our other daughter, up in Maine during fall foliage season. The colors were stunning, and the maple syrup makes any pancake tastes a million times better.
The second thing that comes to my mind are the elderly people in our church family at NRBC. We are so blessed to have a faithful group of saints in the later years of life that are still bearing fruit in their pursuit of Christ. We have been blessed as a church family to have such brilliant spectacles of God’s grace planted right in our midst.
The 70s and 80s can be challenging years. Learning to trust God better when your health starts to fail more, when your body starts to ache deeper, and when your mind starts to cooperate less – well, that is hard work. To have the sweet disposition to repeatedly maintain that “God’s right and always does the right thing. He’s the rock I’ve built my life upon” – well, that’s not always easy to say. But the elderly among us at NRBC are doing just that. What a blessing! What a grace! What a gift from God! They are still bearing fruit in old age.
Please take some time to get to know these well-planted trees that are a part of our church family. Teach your children to speak respectfully and listen eagerly to them. If God is going to make us a 500-year church, then all of us will one day wear those same shoes. May the younger among us learn from this stately forest and pursue righteousness now so that we are full of sap then.