As I mentioned yesterday, Alan and I just celebrated our 44th anniversary
this past weekend, and it occurs to me that we’re getting pretty old!Here’s just a little thought, but I have a gardenia plant,
and I’ve been so inspired by watching it bloom! Do you know how most flowers turn brown on the edges as they get oldbecoming wilted and all bedraggled by the time they die? Well, my gardenia blossoms unfold like a pinwheel of pure white…slowly unfurling their petals day by day until their blooms
are as full and fragrant as the finest rose. However, as gardenias age, the blossoms don’t turn brown like withering roses, they gradually turn deeper and deeper shades of yellow.I would like to learn to age beautifully, like gardenias,
continuing to flourish and produce fruit until the day I die! “12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
15 to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
(Psalm 92:12-15, NIV, emphasis mine)
(The baobab tree in this last photo is called “The Big Tree.”
We saw it recently while we were in Zimbabwe. It’s somewhere between 1000-1500 years old, and it’s still producing flowers and fruit!
Talk about incredible and inspirational!!)
Alan and I both came to faith through the ministry of Billy Graham. I got saved the first time I heard the gospel, but what drew me to listen was seeing the total transformation in my older sister, who had heard Billy Graham speak in Washington D.C. back in 1962. In 1968, Alan surrendered his life to Christ after listening to Billy Graham preaching on a televised evangelistic crusade. So, we both have a lot of history with this now aged teacher, and it seemed quite natural to listen to his book on “life, faith, and finishing Well” on our way home from spring break. Although Nearing Home is uniquely geared to those approaching their retirement years, Graham’s reflections and advice are really appropriate for adults of any age who have “eternity’s values in view.” Billy Graham, who’s now 97, was a mere 93 when he wrote Nearing Home. Billy said the biggest surprise of his life was growing old! He thought a lot about life and death, but not about how to live with grace and purpose even after he was so frail he could no longer carry on his ministry. However, through this book, he is definitely carrying on his ministry, and as always, Billy Graham is still leading by example! Nearing Home is full of stories and practical insights gleaned from people he’s known or heard from over the years (and I’ll bet that numbers in the hundreds of thousands). His book resonates with hope and comfort, but it’s also an inspiring call to continue serving. Love and serve—God and mankind, and never stop thinking in terms of how to extend love, compassion, and service even to those who are caring for us. If you’re wondering when to retire and what to do afterward, please take time to ponder your way through this classic work on how to grow old with grace, written by the man who’s been our world’s most influential Christian leader for the past 65+ years. May God bless you richly!P.S.—My dad, who lived a robust life until almost 90, kept this cheerful sign on his bedroom door: “If things get better with age, then I’m approaching magnificent!” 🙂 Oh, to have a twinkle in my soul until I die!
“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. 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” (Psalm 92:12-15, ESV, emphasis mine).