WHY DO SO MANY FEAR OLD AGE?
Philemon 1:9 (KJV)
Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
Paul was an old man, at least in his own opinion, when he wrote to Philemon. He uses the Greek word presbutes, meaning ‘aged’, ‘an old man’.
It is the same word referring to ‘Zacharias’ when he talked to Gabriel. Zacharias was an old man at that time.
Paul expected that aged men be matured, serious, learned in temperance, grounded in their faith, and lovingly patient which is learned from their years in service to the Lord.
Titus 2:1-2 (KJV)
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
If Paul was 25 years old when he aided in the stoning of Stephen, he would be only 56 years old when he wrote to Philemon. Many of us do not consider that very ‘aged’, but in that time and age, it was.
Was Paul biased against youth? No, we do not see that in his writings, for he worked hard with several youth. John Mark did disappoint him when he left Paul to ‘go home to mommy’ for a while. Barnabas has to rebuke and separate from Paul for his lack of welcome back when John Mark returned. Later, Paul seems to have repented, and took John Mark for further training.
Acts 15:37-40 (KJV)
And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
Later, Paul, likely having been taught by the Holy Spirit, and gained in wisdom through his error, sent for John Mark, and realized that youth does have its benefits.
2 Timothy 4:11 (KJV)
Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
Paul recognized the calling of Timothy, and saw in him great potential. He realized that Timothy, due to his youth, was not being seen by some as valuable and well matured in ministry. Paul addressed the concern, and encouraged Timothy.
1 Timothy 4:12-16 (KJV)
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
So, Paul learned that youth does normally include less experience, less time to have studied, and matured in understanding the doctrines of the faith. He saw it as possible for Timothy, as a young man, to not realize that others were noticing his continuing growth, and yet, still possessing need to profit further in the faith.
Paul considered himself ‘aged’, and yet, did not see that as a flaw, but as a benefit of having developed in the faith.
Proverbs 16:31 (KJV)
The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
Proverbs 16:31 (NLT)
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.
Proverbs 16:31 (YLT)
A crown of beauty are grey hairs, In the way of righteousness it is found.
Old age, grey hair, is to be a ‘sign of glory’, a crown of beauty, if done in a godly life.
God has promised to be with us as we age, to carry us, to bear us in our weakening physical condition, for the purpose of delivering us from the part of the curse that made ‘aging’ to be normal, until we receive our eternal bodies.
Isaiah 46:4 (KJV)
And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.
Isaiah 46:4 (YLT)
Even to old age I am He, and to grey hairs I carry, I made, and I bear, yea, I carry and deliver.
Prosperity of a righteous life is seen in the older saints. Their souls have prospered, despite the aging and decaying of their former youth.
Psalm 92:14 (KJV)
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
Psalm 92:13-14 (YLT)
Those planted in the house of Jehovah, In the courts of our God do flourish. Still they bring forth in old age, Fat and flourishing are they,
One of eight Americans is 65 years of age, or older. Every day, more than 5500 Americans turn 65. This number is increasing every year. God has blessed many of His children with old age. The fruition of a moral and godly life is to be greatly blessed. The fruits of all the seeds sown in the garden of life should be, and do show a harvest in old age. God’s favor and blessings are at their peak, even as our physical, aging, and dying bodies make us realize our human weakness, we feel and enjoy the closer fellowship with our Lord.
Deuteronomy 5:33 (KJV)
Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.
Abraham lived a good long life.
Genesis 25:8 (KJV)
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.
David also lived to an old age, blessed in his life.
1 Chronicles 29:28 (KJV)
And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.
WISDOM IS TO BE AN ATTRIBUTE OF OLD AGE
Proverbs 3:13, 15-16 (KJV)
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. ... She (wisdom) is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
Proverbs 9:10-11 (KJV)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.
The more aged ministers are to be teachers, guides to wisdom, to the younger saints of the Lord.
Joel 1:2-3 (KJV)
Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.
Younger ministers are to seek the counsel and wisdom of the older, more mature in the Lord, ministers.
Deuteronomy 32:7 (KJV)
Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
Age should show the maturing, the growth, the wisdom that can be shared with the younger of the faith.
Titus 2:2 (KJV)
That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
Titus 2:3-5 (KJV)
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
GOD PROMISES HIS ABIDING PRESENCE TO THE AGED
We can live in old age, not fearing the nearness of death, for we know we are with, and shall even in death be with, the Lord.
Revelation 21:3-4 (KJV)
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
When in heaven, we all become older and older in age, but not in body. The body here and now, will age, decay, and move toward death. Then, the body will be eternal, but our souls will learn and learn, mature and mature, and become more and more wise through the centuries and millennia. Old in person, young in body. Now, we become old in body, but the soul is already eternal, and ageless.
Romans 8:19-25 (KJV)
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
When our eternal bodies take the place of these bodies of age, we shall rejoice in the victory over old age and death.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 (KJV)
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, Who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.