You are the perfect age to serve God
by Deacon Christine Maddux
On the eve of yet another birthday (already?), I thank God for the gift of one more year. Many people do not get to see so many sunrises — a fact even more poignant in this time of pandemic, when the gift of age places my cohort in a high-risk category. I also thank God that He still gives me meaningful ways to serve Him – ways I would not have imagined just a few years ago, including serving my new church family and writing these columns for you.
Yet while God’s path for me continues to surprise, it is not surprising that He still has a purpose for me, because to God every life has purpose from conception to natural death; and the Bible shows Him calling many older people to serve Him in interesting ways. Abraham and Sarah became the father and mother of many nations when they were 100 and 90 respectively, giving rise to God’s penetrating rhetorical question, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Moses led the Chosen People out of Egyptian captivity when he was nearly 80. When they were “advanced in age”, Elizabeth and Zechariah became the parents of John the Baptist, the prophet who would pave the way for Messiah Jesus and proclaim his long-awaited arrival (Luke 1:18, 57; John 1:29).
The Bible shows people serving God in their middle years, too, including Old Testament prophets who faithfully carried God’s warnings and messages of hope to his people. In the New Testament, we see the apostles called from their established occupations to their world-changing vocation of spreading the gospel. In his early thirties, Jesus began and completed his mission as Savior of the world. Simon of Cyrene was of an age to be able to shoulder Jesus’ cross on the way to his crucifixion, being called to a momentary but momentous ministry (Luke 23:26).
And the Bible shows us that young people are not left out of God’s economy, either. A little servant girl spoke words of hope to her mistress, which led to miraculous healing and faith in God for an influential army commander (2 Kings 5:1-14). Fifteen-year-old David was anointed king of Israel while yet a shepherd boy. Mary was called to the incomparable honor and weight of being Jesus’ mother when she was a mere teen, too.
Some of these Bible stories are lengthy, others just a passing mention with the rest of the story unfolding behind the scenes. Likewise, our service to God may have lengthy public exposure, or it may shine forth in one brief moment while the rest remains behind the scenes. In any case, age is not a factor; God still uses people of all ages to do his work.
Consider the children serving others today, like 11-year-old Holli Morgan of Georgia, who sews masks for the homeless. Or Will Lourcey of Texas, the teen who started Friends Reaching Our Goals (FROG) to end hunger and inspire youth to make a positive change in the world. Consider 71-year-old Roger Gates, who recently came through Cashiers and Highlands on his walk to California with an 11-foot cross, raising money to build a food warehouse for the needy; or 64-year-old John Daso, the artist creating the mural on our local BP station, who gives free art supplies to underprivileged children while eagerly anticipating his retirement so he can strictly “paint for God.” How glorious it is that God can use us all, in so many ways and at any age. Is anything too hard for the Lord?
The Rev. Christine Maddux is a deacon at Christ Anglican Church in Cashiers, and lives in Sapphire. Send your questions and comments to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in the Crossroads Chronicle, July 22, 2020.