You gotta love Dr. Seuss!
Some of you enjoyed having others read his books to you as children, then later reading his stories to your kids, grandkids and perhaps even great grandkids.
As more days, months and years pass, we’re pinching ourselves, "Can we really be this old already?"
So we may agree it's late, and late came faster than most of us expected.
The next question, "What are we going to do about it?"
We see a couple extremes in prevailing attitudes.
"It's late. Turn out the lights. The party is over."
"It's late. Turn up the lights. My remaining time is precious. Let's not waste these moments. God still has a powerful purpose for me in the twilight."
Usually there's quite a bit of good livin' between 'it's late' and 'you're done.' Sometimes we have to plow through major obstacles to remain purposeful. Things around us are changing rapidly, bodies are wearing down, and older adults can often start feeling abandoned.
It's easy to see why and how some people quit before the finish line, but God wants us to press on and give Him our best to the very end.
What Will You Build?
We love Psalm 71:18 (NLT):
The first half of the verse introduces life’s second half challenges. And the verse’s second half highlights purposeful, God-honoring interaction with younger, first-half generations as a key to the psalmist’s salvation.
We face an important choice. Build a generational wall and live out the old and gray years with the fear of abandonment. Or build a bridge that proclaims God’s glory to younger generations.
The psalmist had to push through some challenges - feeling old, gray, and abandoned - to get to his 'so late so soon' purpose.
Some of your 'new generation' purpose may sit across from you at the dinner table as grandkids or other young friends come to visit. Some might be in the lobby of your church or serve you across the counter at your bank, grocery store or restaurant. And some you may never know this side of heaven.
You have powerful, God-honoring life stories to share. Take time to communicate them now directly and through writing, video or audio recording---while you still have strength and clarity of thought.
Don't forget how much inspiration came into your life from those who were gone long before you arrived on the scene! (Like every Biblical writer, for instance!)
Welcome Generation X
It’s hard to believe the last of the Baby Boomers turned 50 in December 2014! Generation X began joining the 50+ fraternity in January 2015!
Frankly, many churches with specialized ministries for adults on the plus side of fifty weren't quite ready for Boomers, and most are certainly not ready for Gen Xers. Again . . .
And, of course, fifty is not really SO late. And we don't believe there's a huge contrast between someone turning 50 in December 2014 vs. January 2015. These generational labels are our culture's attempt to make sense of generational nuances.
What we do believe is that connecting older generations with younger generations is key . . . for Gen X, Boomer and Builder generations. Let us proclaim His power to the next generations, His mighty miracles to all who come after us.
A Rapidly Aging America
America is aging and will be for the next several decades. (The 65+ population is on track to more than double between the 2010 and 2050 census, from just over 40 million to just under 90 million!)
Others can reinforce our getting stuck in the first half of Psalm 71:18 by isolating the aged and viewing aging only as a major personal and societal problem.
And we who are older also run the risk of viewing younger generations only through problematic lenses. This near-sighted myopia keeps us from moving beyond the first half of the verse---and makes us feel more and more obsolete, colorless and forgotten over time.
But there is a better option. We can push through negative generational stereotypes and trust the Lord for fresh opportunities. Again, building a bridge to Part B:
God’s awesome power has never depended on our age or physical strength. In fact, His power can become even more visible when the batteries on our aging clock run low.
It’s still early enough. And you are still young enough to make a mighty difference for Christ in the lives of others.
So late . . . so soon . . . and so many young lives yet to impact with God’s powerful love!