Do you believe we can still achieve great accomplishments in life when past the age of 50? Is it possible that our happiest times of life can be in our 60s, 70s and beyond? If this seems unlikely or impossible, then you may have bought into what Herbert W. Armstrong called “the great myth.”
In the Plain Truth magazine, Mr. Armstrong explained that millions believe the myth that “romance, love and affection are appropriate and even needed in the 20s, but by middle age or after it is ridiculous—that by middle age people are not supposed to retain energy, vigor and active-minded accomplishment” (December 1976).
The myth gets worse: that once in their 50s “people are supposed to become senile, sexually indifferent, impotent, frigid and completely useless. They are supposed to retire and sink into helpless uselessness” (ibid).
Our society believes that seniors should merely eke out an existence until death. But you have been called to be different and to live a different way of life.
Whether you are young, middle-aged or a senior, God wants you to live a life of real accomplishment and abundant growth!
Mr. Armstrong asked, “Why should people believe in a myth that cheats millions out of one of the happiest times of life? Why should the millions believe a myth that makes them old before their time and robs them of usefulness, vigor, sparkling interest in life, and real accomplishment?” (ibid).
Is your attitude toward your senior years robbing you of usefulness and real accomplishment? Do you think you are past your prime? If so, realize that believing this myth is spiritually dangerous. God expects you to be different!
Godly seniors are being prepared for positions in the World Tomorrow. It is vital that you understand that our approach to fulfilling our part in God’s Work has everything to do with our role in the World Tomorrow. We have been called for a job.
God values His seniors
James 1:22 says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” God wants the seniors in His Church to be doers of His Word. Verse 25 admonishes us not to be a “forgetful hearer.” God expects you to act on the instruction He gives you, regardless of your age. If you attend services, God wants you to do more than just sit and listen. He wants you to be a doer and to grow! This means you have to continually change and avoid spiritual stagnation.
Seniors make up almost half of the membership of the Philadelphia Church of God. What is the value of a senior to God’s Church? What is the impact seniors have on helping God finish His Work? Their collective impact is huge!
God is mindful of whatever stage you are in life when He calls you. He doesn’t call people by accident. He knows your thoughts, your aspirations, your aches and pains, your tests and trials. Even if you are called by God as a 60- or 70-year-old, God is deeply interested in how you live your life. You must believe that God is mindful of you individually and live your life accordingly (Psalm 8:4).
Your heavenly Father wants to build a loving companionship with all His seniors. Seniors are vital to His Work. Yet Satan works to blind them to how important their role in God’s Work is. He wants you to think your best years are behind you. He wants seniors to struggle with thoughts about having no talents to offer God. Satan wants you to think you don’t matter.
If you question why God has called you as a senior, you may have bought into the great myth. If Satan can hinder the seniors in God’s Church, who make up almost half of the membership, then he can hinder God’s Work.
Taking on God’s likeness
Psalm 17:15 tells us we are to take on God’s likeness. This is a great thing. How you work to take on God’s likeness matters. You have an incredible future ahead of you when, at Christ’s return and the first resurrection, your physical bodies will be replaced by spirit bodies.
God has not called you to sit on the veranda and merely wait for the end. God wants seniors to lead dynamic lives full of hope, peace and joy. Everyone in God’s Church must fight to keep his zeal alive, especially seniors. The spirit of this age is to be lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). It’s not easy to stay on fire for God. It takes effort, but that’s what God requires of you. Seniors are no exception! All of God’s people are in a spiritual fight!
When you are changed to a spirit being, “[y]our mind will function at a much higher level. You will have a perfect memory, with total recall. All the Bible study you have done over the years is tucked away in your memory banks somewhere. As a God being, you’ll be able to bring it to mind instantly!” (Royal Vision, September-October 2008).
Your Bible study is not a fruitless endeavor. You cannot give up on Bible study simply because you struggle with your memory. You need to work at it because the days are coming when you will be able to instantly recall what you have studied.
In that future, you will look like Christ and wear royal clothes similar to those described in Revelation 1:13-15. You will have a royal future if you continue to overcome and support God’s Work the way God wants you to. Seniors will have royal offices in the World Tomorrow. Your approach to how you live today and how you do God’s Work is preparing you for those offices.
Isaiah 65:17-19 say, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. … [A]nd the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.” Seniors can be intimately acquainted with suffering and crying. But such will soon be over. Seniors in God’s Church will have a part in changing the suffering of this world into rejoicing. You will be able to teach the world about the cause of suffering and how to have joy instead. People in the World Tomorrow will be able to “long enjoy the work of their hands” (verse 22).
Get Ready For Family
Your future is about family. You will again build family. Do you have a family that didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to? Would you like another chance to raise a family? You will have another opportunity! See the vision of where you are headed and push toward it. This is the opposite of the great myth. God’s seniors have things to do and responsibilities to prepare for.
You will have the opportunity to make a difference, not just with your physical families but with God’s Family. It can be painful to lose family, but God wants to put you right back into family. You must see things from God’s perspective.
In The God Family Vision, Gerald Flurry writes, “We must be prepared for children. By the time of the marriage, Jesus Christ’s wife will have made herself ready (Revelation 19:7). We must get ready before the children are there. What God wants us to do is to get ready to rear and teach billions of people. That is the wife’s purpose: to help Christ rear all those who will be called into God’s Family in the future.”
Your job is to get ready to build our Father’s Family. You have to be ready, even if you are 90 years old. You have to keep up your prayers and Bible study, and continually push yourself spiritually. God is going to measure every one of you to see if you are being made ready. That’s why seniors must continue to push, even if their bodies aren’t strong anymore, and even if you have pains or find it difficult to get going in the morning. Time is flying, and you must take advantage of all the opportunities God gives you to be made ready. You may never get the opportunities back again. Now is the time to push spiritually!
You must think differently from this world. The people in this world don’t know about the healing God, the God who can renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). But you do, and God wants you to claim these promises.
Mr. Flurry continues, “God wants us to focus our minds on all the children to come on the scene in the future and to get ready to rear them and dedicate them all to the Father, the way Hannah did her son.”
Are you learning to dedicate yourself to God today? As you do, you learn to dedicate children to God in the World Tomorrow. You need courage to continually let God work mightily through your lives. It takes faith and courage to push past the aches, pains and worries that get in the way. You have to keep in mind what God wants to do in your life.
Mr. Armstrong is a great example of a person who continued to push himself to serve God. In a Sept. 12, 1985, co-worker letter, he wrote that Mystery of the Ages, which was completed in his 94th year, was the most valuable gift he could possibly give.
As seniors, can you follow his example and live your lives as a gift to God’s Church? Do you share yourselves with others? Are you integrating into the Church family, drawing closer together? God’s Church is being taught to appreciate seniors and their wisdom. Seniors can also be proactive in getting to know others better.
Seniors Need To Be Successful
In an April 17, 1967, co-worker letter, Mr. Armstrong explained that neither he nor his wife ever felt or acted like “old folks” or elderly people. They kept going strong until their deaths. Mr. Armstrong said he was doing the best work of his life as a 93-year-old. God is holding us to a similar standard and wants us to be productive until the very end.
Strive to do the best work of your life, regardless of age! Your body may be weak, but you can still have a strong spiritual life. God wants you to live life abundantly! God wants everyone to look forward to Christ’s return and to do his part in His Work to hasten it (2 Peter 3:11-12).
How is your attitude? If you only pay attention to your aging body, you can sink into an “I can’t” attitude. But that is not God’s attitude. You may not move as quickly as you once did, but you can keep pushing yourself. You must deeply believe that with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27).
Seniors need to be successful! You can be successful in God’s Church. You have the opportunity to be a successful part of God’s plan, regardless of age. Do you recognize the unique opportunity you have? Grab it while you can.
Here are four areas that can help godly seniors be spiritually successful.
1. Realize the importance of your part in God’s Work
“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Are you doing the will of your Father in your life as a senior? God wants you to grasp how important you are to God’s Work. Your heart must be in God’s Work with a laser focus. You must fight Satan’s efforts to get you to believe you are useless.
“But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (1 Corinthians 12:18). God has placed every member, including seniors, where it has pleased Him. Collectively, we do God’s Work as a body.
“And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body” (verses 19-20). You cannot think that because you are now in your 60s, 70s, 80s or beyond, you are no longer part of the body. We all have a job to do. Don’t let your age be an obstacle to your successful part in God’s Work.
If you realize how important your part is, you will have this attitude: What more can I do for God’s Work?
2. Pray for specific aspects of the Work
James 5:16 says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” If all seniors in God’s Church made a goal of giving a tithe more of their time, so they spend 10 percent more time in prayer, they could have a huge effect on God’s Work.
Luke 2:36-38 record the example of Anna, an elderly lady who served God’s Work by praying and fasting night and day. One of the main jobs seniors have is to serve God by praying and fasting.
You can beat your prayers fine and pray for the expenditures of God’s Work. You can pray in detail that God guides the decision-making in the Work. You can pray in detail for Mr. Gerald Flurry in his various duties as pastor general. You can pray that God brings a quick conclusion to His Work.
Seniors might have a harder time praying if they struggle to remember all the details to pray about. However, you can use prayer lists to help you remember everything there is to pray over. Make changes to your prayer list by adding to it or removing items from it as prayers are answered. Using a prayer list will provide a road map that will help keep your mind from wandering. Your prayers are a major contribution to God’s Work!
3. Realize your financial contributions are important
Luke 21:1-2 tell of how a poor widow gave two mites to God’s Work. Seeing this, Jesus said, “Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had” (verses 3-4). The word penury in verse 4 can mean deficit. She was in poverty and yet gave all she had. The point is not whether you give all your money, but that you show God how much is in your heart. If your heart is in God’s Work, your contributions will always matter.
Seniors have a beautiful opportunity to support God’s Work, even with financial contributions. Even a small donation can go a long way in giving this world God’s message. Your donations will be stretched as much as possible to get the message out. Don’t let Satan convince you that your contributions are unimportant.
4. Strengthen your mind and body
The great myth says that if you are a senior, your mind doesn’t work well and you have a weak body. It is true that senior bodies aren’t what they once were in the prime of life. But you can work to strengthen your mind and body.
Ephesians 5:16 says we need to redeem the time. Redeem means to rescue from loss or to ransom. Regardless of age, we can fervently ask God to help us redeem the time by strengthening our mind and body. It won’t be easy if you are in pain. This will take faith. Remember: With God, all things are possible. You can work to improve your diet. You can also participate in some kind of physical activity, even if it is just walking.
Even as your body grows older, your mind can remain active and continually improve. Mr. Armstrong is an example of a senior whose mind remained active. He grew in wisdom. He produced his greatest accomplishments in the final years of his life. Anyone can work harder at keeping his mind active.
Abraham was another man who achieved great accomplishments in his senior years. At 75 years old, he moved from his home in Haran and started a new life (Genesis 12:4). Later, God commanded Abraham to walk before Him and be perfect—this when he was 99 years old (Genesis 17:1). Abraham was wholehearted in serving God. His example can apply to every senior. God wants a deep, wholehearted commitment from everyone of us.
Seniors can make a difference. This world doesn’t think so, but in the World Tomorrow, thinking will be different. Seniors will be recognized and appreciated (Zechariah 8:4). Seniors in God’s Church are learning and growing so that they can help Jesus Christ make that change. Seniors, you must understand that God sees you as a special group of people who are destined to make a big impact in the World Tomorrow.