I turned sixty-five today. It is a milestone, at least in the American culture. I now qualify for Medicare. I also qualify for senior discounts. I could draw my social security checks, and no one would be surprised, but I think I will wait for a few years.
Not everyone is guaranteed to live until they are old but those who do, find that getting old is not an easy road to walk. Not everyone’s health fails right away but most will tell you they have more aches and pains. They often have less energy and may find themselves dozing more often. For many they sit more and run seldom. Among the elderly, sixty-five is considered young. But most would confess that it is the end of middle age and the beginning of the end.
I am not depressed or overwhelmed with the realization that I am closer to the end of my journey now. Actually, I am excited to think about heaven and when it might be my turn to graduate. I am not in a hurry to die but I am thinking about Heaven more often.
My mother died in June. My dad won’t be far behind her. I have lost dear friends and other family members. The older I get the more funerals I seem to attend. Those I hold dear in this life seem more dear to me now than ever. I want to spend more time with them before one of us passes on.
As I look back over my life I ask myself what it is that makes me content to be at this stage of life. I want to pass that message on. Not everyone is. I am amazed at the products being marketed that guarantee to make you look younger, feel younger, and live longer. I don’t feel the need to cover up my wrinkles or my grey hair. I don’t feel the need to do the things I did at 20 or 30 or even 50. I am content to be who I am, where I am, at the age I am.
Children are so busy growing up. Young people are biting at the bit to be over 21. And yet most adults will tell you that once you hit thirty the years start flying by. What can we say, how can we help our children cherish their childhood, enjoy the journey, be content?
It is natural to grow up and to anticipate the future. I am not suggesting that we should teach our children to want to stay a child. I am suggesting that we teach them the joy in being content at whatever age they are.
Being content is not something we can take pride in as if we can accomplish that state by a mere act of our will. It is a work of God’s Holy Spirit through the power of His Word. The more we study what God’s Word tells us about our identity in Christ the more we will know the truth. Living out that truth is what brings contentment. Contentment is not something we decide to have. It is a lesson learned by living out the confession of our faith one day at a time. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content in any circumstance. I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing. I am able to do all things[i] through the one who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13
The most amazing thing about living life this way is that death doesn’t become an end to life but merely a doorway that we will step through. It won’t matter if we step through at six or at sixty-five, at fifteen or at 100 each day lived for the Lord will make not only a content life but also one well spent. “Only one life ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”