This past week my wife and I were talking about how we both are starting to get “old.” We will celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary this summer. We have a son who has already finished school and is married. Our daughter just completed her freshman year in college and will soon be on her own. If you are age 60 or above, you’ve already been through this, but for us young “whipper-snappers” around the age of 50 – this is all new. I had always heard from the older generation – “you bounce off the walls now, but you wait till you turn 50!” – almost like it was some kind of death sentence. But now that I’ve been 50 for a year or two, I’ll admit I have noticed some changes. I still bounce off the walls, just not as high and certainly not as long as I used to. However, not all the changes have been negative. One change I’ve welcomed is my change of perspective since I’m able to look back now and make some observations. My wife and I have been blessed these past thirty years. We saw the energetic, fun-filled 20’s give way to family-raising and mini-van driving in our 30’s. And we saw life speed up in those 30-somethng years and morph into schedules that were too-packed and “To-Do” lists that were too long. Before we knew it - the 50’s arrived. (Kim also turns 50 this year on June 10th!) The bible says that life is a vapor and I totally agree.
Before you think I’m ready to ride off into the sunset, I want to let you know why I’m so excited about this new stage in life. Unless Jesus returns or decides to take us home early, 50 is still young! There’s still twenty-five to forty years to live for God and those last-half-of-your-life years can be lived with a new outlook. The Joneses I used to try to keep up with are a distant memory. In fact, now I wonder why I even cared about all that instead of wondering if they knew Jesus?
Of all the things I’ve learned as I’ve grown older, the one thing that sticks out in my mind right now is how important it is to live your life giving instead of taking. It’s not an easy thing to do since we live in a culture that is so consumer-driven. We want more and more and we give less and less. Everything revolves around our world and our children’s world – while the real world around us just continues to die a slow, almost painless death. The pain is there as we die, we just don’t notice it because we’re numbed by the drug of choice in our world today – selfishness. We become addicted to “me” and “my” and raise children who are also “self-junkies.” Our kids are always wanting more and more and are satisfied less and less with their lives. Here’s an idea. Try giving instead.
There’s no wonder we live in a world that’s so unsatisfied because it’s a world filled with takers. We’re always wanting something. But God is giving me a new perspective that takes the attention off me and shifts it to the needs of others. With this new perspective, I’ve learned some things about giving and receiving. I’ve noticed that takers have less and are always wanting more while givers have more and want less. Givers understand that only Jesus will satisfy and that the desire to always receive comes from selfishness. Former President Calvin Coolidge once said – “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” What a profound statement. I want to try to give more in my next 50 years. I want to care about other people’s children and grandchildren – not just my own. Somehow, I want to care about my neighbor in a way that they know I care. I don’t want to come to church looking to get something out of it – I want to come prepared to GIVE my God the worship He deserves. When we do that, God will make sure we stop the never-ending pursuit of more because we will finally be satisfied with what we have.
In the end – here’s how to get more. Give more! Give of your finances. Give your time. Give up your comforts and conveniences for the sake of the call of Christ and receive blessings from God that will blow you away. Luke 6:38 pretty well sums it up – “GIVE and it will be given to you.” I’m thankful to God for this new perspective as I reach the halftime of life! Won’t you join me in giving?
Worship Pastor, BCC