Purpose in the later years of life…


Psalm 90: 3 You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.” 4 For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night. 5 You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning… 6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers. 10 The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 

This psalm is attributed to Moses. In the passage above Moses reflects on how quickly life passes from birth to death. Two thoughts come to mind for me here.

First is the recognition of how quickly time passes as we get older. Today I am returning from a three-month Sabbatical, which was wonderful. Today also begins my 10th year as pastor of Rejoice Lutheran Church. My 10th year! Seems just yesterday my family and I were driving from Charlotte, NC to suburban Dallas to start a new life here. Time really does fly.

Second is the fact that Moses was 80 years old when he was called by God to help free the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. V.10 suggests one might normally expect a person to be ending their life at 80 years, but not so with Moses. In fact, the most significant chapters of his life began at age 80. He then led Israel through the wilderness for 40 years before dying at age 120.

As we get older it’s tempting to think the most important or significant or productive years of our lives are behind us. God begs to differ. So let me ask you a question. How are you investing the years you have left? What are devoting yourself to? How is God giving you a chance to make a difference at your age and station of life? What opportunities are you missing because you’re assuming your best days are behind you?

Lord open our eyes to see where we might serve you at whatever age we may be. Amen.

5 thoughts on “Purpose in the later years of life…

  1. Marcie Sandall

    WELCOME BACK! This was really a good one. I feel very satisfied with my life. I just turned 90! Who woodah thunk? I confess that I do have regrets that I did not treat some family members differently, but I try not to dwell on it because the past is past. One of my favorite sayings is
    “I did the best I could with what I had.”
    Marcie Sandall

  2. Bob Harmon

    I’m very glad you were able to enjoy the Sabbatical. I’m certain it gave you an opportunity to renewal. Pretty much in tandem with yours, I have also been on a 90+ day involuntary Sabbatical. I had the pleasure of learning why people my age should not still be cleaning out their gutters. On April 30th, I fell of the roof and broke both of my heels. So, 12 weeks of non weight bearing, and a very good opportunity to reflect on a lot of things. I’m certain that God used this time to teach me humility and patience. When a person is totally reliant on others for every need, well, it does put our relationship with God in perspective. But, on a brighter note, pretty much again in tandem with your Sabbatical ending, I am now able to walk (with walker/cane assistance) and getting back to a more mobile life. This blog did mean a lot to me. I’ll be turning 64 in a few weeks and reading over this made me think about my approaching retirement in a year or two and how I will continue to serve then. The past 9 years have been spent in service with Open Hands and growing that ministry. I know I have some good years left, and I do plan on using them in His service. God bless you Ernie! All of us in NC miss you…… Bob Harmon

    • Oh Bob, so sorry to hear of your injury brother. That must have been tough. And thank you for your kind words. I think of you and Christian and the family often. Grace and peace to you in this new season the Lord has set before you!

      • Bob Harmon

        (I did get to live vicariously through your adventures during your time away, so that was enjoyable. Even though I didn’t get any sun, nor any salt water in my eyes, nor have any boat drinks. But, besides that…. well…. your Sabbatical was a lot more fun… I’m very glad you and the crew got to go.)

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