A Word on Aging …

A word about aging…

I had a full career as a writer from day one through my mid-40s.  As a military contractor, my employer had access to all the government networks that would eventually become the internet. I was literally in on the ground floor.

That gave me the resume to dare to apply for a job in web design. At the interview, one of the young entrepreneurs said, “but would you be comfortable working with people who are so much younger than you?”


With 22 years in ministry, I’m technically at retirement age.  To me, that would be a long, silly vacation without the funds to enjoy it. “Do you have plans for retirement?” No, I do not.

I was blessed to retire from writing to become a programmer – and yes, I worked for and with people a lot younger than I was. Then, I was blessed to retire from programming to become a pastor. If I ever retired again, I’d be a musician – though I can’t imagine making more music than I make for church.

I am not an old sage. I am surrounded by people more spiritual and committed than I am. They are 30 years younger, and 20 years older, and everything in between. They’ve done a lot of living, too, so I don’t presume to know more or less than they do. I know some things; they know others. We share. It all works out.

Ageism may be the last acceptable prejudice in our society. I’ve had the honor of watching a lot of people age. I don’t chuckle over jokes about hearing, speed, vision, grey hair, or baldness. They aren’t funny. I’m also an adamant supporter of the generations that have followed us. They have their share of deadbeats, but they are otherwise the most responsible, ethical, and intelligent people I’ve ever met.

Jesus’ ministry on Earth was over in his mid-30s. Abraham was called at age 75. Moses saw the burning bush at 40, but didn’t lead the Exodus until he was 80. Samuel was called in his early teens.

God will use whom God will use. God gives us wisdom, sometimes from the mouth of babes. God gives us joy and new beginnings; they shouldn’t be suspect just because they come later in life.

Am I old? Chronologically, getting there. Physically, oh yeah, with daily reminders that the body is a rental that has to go back to the Vendor one day. Mentally? That’s a tough one. Experience has its perks, and its baggage. At this point, I just have to trust that God’s tossed salad needs me here.

God can do something brand new with your life, and it can start at any age. God forgive me if I have elevated myself at someone’s expense just because they were younger or older. We don’t select the year of our birth; it’s as locked in as skin color and gender. We all live TODAY, and none of is guaranteed another day.

I will try to draw good things from the treasure of my heart. I will seek the face of God in every person I meet. I will accept God’s gifts as they share them. I will affirm their dreams and potential. And I will try to not to judge them by age, for by the standards I judge, I will be judged as well.

Next Stop: Epiphany

The next stop on our annual journey through the holidays is Epiphany, January 6. In western traditions, Epiphany marks the arrival of the Magi to visit Jesus. It also makes a convenient bookend on the Twelve Days of Christmas.

To reiterate my favorite aside, “We Three Kings from Orient Are” were not. The Magi were Zorastrian priests, astrologers and/or magicians from Iran, then known as Persia. There were probably more than three, and almost certainly not all men. Given the role of women in ancient Persia, they likely supplied the gold, frankincense, and myrrh in the first place.

(And, to settle an old joke, they actually did stop at Herod’s and asked for directions. Clearly, there were women in the camp!)

Sometimes, our traditions get in the way of our Epiphany. It’s a little thing, but if we think the three kings were just three rich male rulers, we can miss the bigger picture. Where the Bible is silent, we fill in the blanks. The Magi were complete outsiders, pagans and foreigners who were probably celebrating to have been invited to the event by the heavens themselves. God moved the very constellations of heaven to lead them to seek the Messiah.

The Middle East was afire with expectations of a Messiah. Religion and Government were on the lookout for a troublemaker who would use the Messiah’s mantle to lead a revolution. Jesus’ one-to-three-year public ministry would have been even shorter had He declared His identity openly.

From prison, John the Baptist sent disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you The One who is to come? Or should we look for another?” Jesus answered indirectly, but with evidence that comes with yet another Epiphany.

Luke 7 reveals that “in that same hour He cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind He gave sight.” Jesus said simply, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the Gospel is preached to the poor.”

John knew the prophesies of Isaiah, who said the Messiah would preach to the poor, heal the sick, and even raise the dead. There are many great generals and leaders, but none has ever provided such convincing evidence of God’s endorsement. Just tell John what you’ve seen and heard; he’ll figure it out.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Some might ask, “Is Guyton Christian Church truly a Christ-Centered church?” All we have to do, like Jesus did, is point to the evidence:

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