Growth is a lifelong endeavor, and retirement is not the endcap. Older adults leading a vibrant life continue to grow, learning new things and having new experiences. That's especially true of many of the residents at Viewpointe assisted living, where older adults can enjoy an active social life and engage in community activities, exercise programs and even planned adventures to cultural outings and fun locations.
Another area where growth doesn't have to stop, no matter what age you are, is in spiritual life. With that in mind, here are some takeaways for seniors from the prophets of the Old Testament.
You may think you've outgrown being useful in God's plan. Maybe you can't get down on the floor as easily to teach children, or your voice is no longer able to hit all the notes you once could in a church choir. But none of those things are important to being part of God's plan, and the somewhat ragtag collection of prophets the Lord calls on throughout the Old Testament makes this clear.
Today, we might think a prophet and a preacher need a strong voice. In Egypt, God calls on Moses, who is so bad with the spoken word he at first balks at this responsibility. God gives him Aaron, someone who's better with a turn of phrase, but it's Moses who leads the people out of slavery and receives God's commands.
Today, we might think someone who's useful to God would be brave and fearless in carrying out that obedience. But in the Old Testament, God calls on Jonah — a man he has to chase across the sea and capture in the belly of a whale before obedience occurs.
Dig deeper into the Old Testament — and the New Testament, for that matter — and you'll find plenty of stories of people who didn't seem up for the task God called them to. But the Lord doesn't look at us as we look at each other. 1 Samuel 16:7 says, "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'"
As an adult of faith, it's tempting to feel responsible for other people's relationships with God. That's especially true if you have children, grandchildren or other younger people in your life whom you're close to. But the Old Testament prophets teach us that we're only responsible for our own obedience to God. Maybe that includes raising children in a home that honors the Lord or sharing the message of the gospel with grandchildren or others. But in the end, we can't make those decisions for them.
Ezekiel 18:30 even says, "Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall."
This fact can be freeing for seniors of faith. You can only do the work daily to walk in step with the Lord. While you can — and the Bible indicates you should — pray for the salvation of those you love, whether they make that choice is not something you can hold as your own burden.
The prophets of the Old Testament bring a lot of hard news to the people of Israel. Often, they speak of devastation or captivity. Messages from the Lord included future famine, the destruction of the temple and the entire nation being carried off by other tribes.
When you face a lot of hard news or challenges in life, you might question whether God actually cares. We can surmise that the Israelites might have done just this because, as often as the prophets carried a message that was painful, they had a message of love and care. "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness...," says the Lord in Jeremiah 31:3.
Life doesn't always go according to our plans. That's true no matter what age we are or what our current circumstances might be. But God's plan is bigger than us and any current situation we might find ourselves in, just as it was bigger than that captivity for decades in Babylon. Jeremiah 29:10-11 says, "This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
God knows his plan for you too, and it doesn't stop with retirement or older age. It continues, and it's good.
*Please don't remove this section it is working with 3 TalkFurther buttons on live url