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TWO SIDES OF AGING
Victor M. Eskew
A. If we live long enough, we will eventually grow old.
1. Abraham (Gen. 25:8)
Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
2. Joshua described himself as “old, and well stricken in age” (Josh. 23:2).
3. In Philemon 9, Paul referred to himself as Paul the aged.”
B. As I think about growing old and as I watch individuals around me age, I see that there are two sides of aging. Let’s consider: “The Two Side of Aging” in this lesson.
I. THE AGED ARE KNOWN, BUT THEY ARE LONELY
A. Children and grandchildren are well aware of those in their family who are aging.
1. It could be a set of grandparents, or, an aunt or uncle.
2. They know the age of the person.
a. My grandad is 92 years old.
b. My aunt just turned 87.
3. They know about their health issues.
a. She does not take any medications.
b. He has never been in the hospital.
c. Her heart is stronger than mine is.
4. The family members may know some things about the person’s past.
a. They worked on the farm all of their lives.
b. They raised nine children.
c. He was a logger, a miner, or a factory worker.
d. They emigrated here from another country.
B. Even though their family knows them, the elderly are still lonely.
1. The family does not visit very often.
2. The telephone calls are few and far between.
I am reminded of two things.
a. The song: “The Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin.
b. A Christmas commercial where a father fakes his death in order to bring his
children home for the holidays.
II. THE AGED ARE RESPECTED, BUT ARE DISRESPECTED
A. Older individuals have been the forerunners of the next generation.
1. They have fought the battles.
2. They have plowed the ground
3. They have sacrificed time, talents, money, strength, and health.
B. Thus, the Bible exhorts us to honor them (Lev. 19:32).
Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old men…
1. Rise in their presence to greet them.
2. Be patient with them in their feebleness.
3. Allow them to speak first.
4. When my parents were growing up, the adults ate first.
5. Take care of them in their old age.
C. Instead of respect, many are shown disrespect.
a. They are laughed at.
b. Their instructions are ignored.
c. They are placed in facilities and forgotten.
d. Some are mistreated.
2. The little children who mocked Elisha (II Kings 2:23).
And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.
III. THE AGED HAVE WISDOM, BUT ARE DISCOUNTED
A. Job 12:12
With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.
1. The older generation has passed through the various stages of life.
2. They have observed the course of events in their lifetime.
3. They have gained knowledge from the generation before them.
4. They have acquired knowledge by experience.
5. They have studied and applied their knowledge to many things.
6. They have both seen and experienced the outcomes of many decisions.
B. The older generation’s wisdom is often discounted.
1. They are thought to be ancient, old-fashioned, and out-of-date.
2. They are said not to understand the events of today, the needs of today, and the modern technology of the today.
3. An OT example from the days of Rehoboam (I Kings 12:13)
And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men’s counsel that they gave him.
IV. THE AGED GIVE THANKS, BUT HAVE SOME REGRETS
A. Most older individuals look back upon their lives and they are thankful for many things.
2. Their job their brought them much fulfillment
3. Their opportunities: to train, to travel, to influence, to help
4. The many people they have met, especially their close friends
5. Their accomplishments in life: assets, awards, savings
6. Example: Paul (II Tim. 4:6-7)
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
B. But, as a person looks back upon life sometimes there are some regrets, a desire to do something better, the wish that more risks would have been taken.
1. Had another child
2. Gotten more education
3. Taken another job
4. Travelled more
5. Not engaged in certain activities
6. Been a better Christian
7. The days are gone and they cannot be recovered. What is done is done. The picture cannot be painted again. The words: “I will do this,” have now turned to: “I wish I would have done this.”
C. NOTE: Fortunately, for most, especially Christians, the good things of life outweigh the regrets.
V. THE AGED HAVE FREEDOM, BUT ARE ENSLAVED
A. As one ages
1. The children leave home.
2. A person is able to quit working.
3. The person has freedom to do many things they have longed to do: travel, visit family, hobbies, projects, a new line of work.
B. The older person, however, may find himself enslaved.
1. Limited finances
2. Failing health, physically and mentally
3. Confined to a certain type of living facility
C. Solomon wrote of this in Ecclesiastes 12:1
Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.
VI. THE AGED HAVE A START, BUT ALSO AN END
A. The last years of life can be a start to many new things.
1. New adventures
2. New occupations
3. New relationships
4. New activities
5. New places to live
B. Old age ultimately brings the end of life. Death is certain (Eccl. 12:6-7).
Or even the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return unto the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
A. Yes, old age has two sides to it. One is good, and one is bad.
B. Some experience one side more than the other in their life.
C. Youth can learn from a lesson like this.
1. They can assist the elderly in such areas as respect and care.
2. They can begin to live their lives in such a way that when they are old they will experience the positive side of old age more than the negative.
D. We will close with two verses from Psalm 90
1. Psalm 90:10
The days of our years are threescore years and ten: and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is there strength labor, and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
2. Psalm 90:12
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.