Aging with Grace Sermon Series Sermon # 5 Feb. 9, 2014
“The Blessings of Aging with Grace”
Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church Pastor Louis Prontnicki
Introduction: As people get older, you often hear them complaining more. They complain about their illnesses, the food, other people, and about getting older. They say to younger people, “Don’t get older!”
But God’s Word tells us that there are a number of special blessings that God has reserved for those who are older. These blessings are given by the Lord only to His senior saints.
Review: In the last four weeks we have looked at various aspects of Aging with Grace. We examined (#1) Psalm 71, a psalm for the elderly; we studied (#2 and# 3) Titus 2:1-8, with its focus on being godly patriarchs and godly matriarchs, and then on mentoring the next generation; and last Sunday, we considered (#4) how to face loss and death, with grace.
Today we finish this brief sermon series on Aging with Grace by considering the blessings that come, as we age with grace:
1. The Blessing of a Return on Investment
2. The Blessing of Enjoying Grandchildren
3. The Blessing of Attaining Wisdom
4. The Blessing of Bearing Ripe Fruit
I. The Blessing of a Return on Investment (1 Tim. 5:3-4)
“Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.”
Believers who have worked all their lives and then become weak and infirmed and unable to work are to know that their physical families and/ or their spiritual families will care for them.”
If a believer in Jesus Christ has been a faithful servant of the Lord for decades, one of the blessings of old age is that you should be able to get a “return on your investment.” That is, after giving to others, especially your children, for so long, you should be able to now receive from them, if you have financial, physical, or emotional needs. You can reap what you have sown for decades; you may receive a good return on your investment.
Now this is not something the older believer should demand, but in the normal course of life, this can be one of the ways the Lord blesses His senior saints. And notice that not only are adult children and grandchildren to care for and provide for their older parents and grandparents; this is also pleasing to God! (v. 4) The Lord delights when he sees older believers being “repaid” for their heart-felt ministry to their children and other saints. Why is this? Because God’s heart is for the widow, the needy, and the oppressed, and so He delights when he sees us reflecting His heart to those same people. It’s like the joy a parent or grandparent has when they see themselves in their children or grandchildren.
Gal. 6:10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Psalm 37:25 “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”
What a blessing to belong to both a biological family and to the family of God, the body of Christ, and know that as we get older, we will be cared for, prayed for, looked after, and provided for… and that this is pleasing to God!
II. The Blessing of Enjoying Grandchildren (Prov. 17:6; Psalm 128:6)
Prov. 17:6 “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Hebrew: “The crown of old men is the sons of sons; the glory of sons is their fathers.”
Psalm 128:6 “May you see your children’s children…”
One commentator noted that “It is common for old people to have a very particular affection for their grand-children, perhaps more than they had for their own children when they were little.” And almost everyone who has grandchildren knows that to be wonderfully true! Perhaps this is the enjoyment aspect of a return on your investment: after spending so much time and energy over 20-30 years raising your children, you finally get to enjoy some return on your investment in the form of these little ones.
George Lawson: “Children are the means of preserving the name of their parents when they are dead; and while they are alive, it is their delight and honor to be surrounded with descendants.”
Now, this is not always a rosy relationship. Charles Bridges comments: “This proverb has its limit. What a crown of thorns to each other are an ungodly progeny and graceless parents! But in the ordinary course of life, gracious children and parents reflect honor upon each other.”
Now I recognize that not all older believers will have grandchildren; for that is something out of our control. But if that is the case, then I would encourage you to “adopt” a few “grandchildren.”
I also readily admit that for the grandchildren to be a blessing to the grandparents, whether natural or “adopted,” the relationship between these different age groups needs to be cultivated and protected….
Matthew Henry writes that “It is an honor to a man to live so long as to see his children’s children, to see his house built up in them, and to see them likely to serve their generation according to the will of God. This crowns and completes their comfort in this world.”
III. The Blessing of Attaining Wisdom (Prov. 16:31; 20:29; Job. 12:12)
Prov. 16:31“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.”
Prov. 20:29 “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.”
Job 12:12 “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”
Our culture puts almost all of its focus on youth. Advertisers aim for the 18-49 year old demographic. Older people are marginalized while younger people are given the majority platform for influencing our country. But we’ve got it upside down! For true wisdom can only be attained through years of godly living and through years of struggles and hardships. You cannot obtain wisdom by googling it!
This doesn’t mean that all old people have wisdom, because many have squandered their lives.
But it does mean that you can only attain a mature wisdom through submitting to the scriptures as you get older. The psalmist writes in Psalm 119:100 “I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.”
One commentator on Prov. 20:29 wrote: “Each age has its God-appointed excellence, to be respected and enjoyed in its time.” So let the young men glory in their six-pack abs and their ability to compete in iron man triathlons. But let the older men glory in their gray hair and their length of days.
Ladies, you may not appreciate your gray hair, but it can be a sign of your wisdom and dignity, and the mark of a godly matriarch.
Godly men and women, do not be ashamed of appearing older; rather, seek to be a source of godly wisdom to those younger than you are.
IV. The Blessing of Bearing Ripe Fruit (Psalm 92:12-15)
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
Here we have the image of Psalm 1, where the blessed man is the one who delights and meditates in God’s Word, and is like a tree planted by streams of water, always prospering spiritually. Now, even in old age, that principle remains true. The elderly saint grows to be like a cedar tree of Lebanon, which is a picture of strength, majesty, and a pleasing aroma! The cedars of Lebanon could grow to be 130 feet tall, with an eight foot diameter. They were used for building ships, houses, palaces, and temples. That’s a picture of a godly older saint!
14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
Matthew Henry comments: “The last days of the saints are sometimes their best days, and their last work is their best work.”
The Lord enables the senior saint to have spiritual stamina, even when their physical and mental stamina are declining.
Deut. 34:7 “Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone.”
In addition to (1) being blessed by the security of their children, (2) being blessed through enjoying grandchildren, and(3) being blessed by attaining wisdom, the older believer is (4) most blessed by God Himself, as he or she is allowed to still bear fruit in their old age!
How that happens: in John 15:5 Jesus says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing
Psalm 71:18 “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”
M. Henry again: “All that ever trusted in God found Him faithful and all sufficient, and none were ever made ashamed of their hope in Him.”