Over Fifty: Is God Finished with Me?
Updated: Apr 18, 2019
“Now that I am old and gray, don’t abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” Psalm 71:18 NLT
Not that I’m admitting to being either old or gray, but this verse is my heart cry. As someone who committed my life to God during the Jesus Movement of the 1970s, I’ve seen some mighty miracles, charismatic craziness, doctrinal disasters, and raw, unadulterated Holy Ghost power. Such a mixed bag. It seemed impossible to track with my faith in a consistent, straightforward manner.
I flourished. I floundered. I stabilized. I sunk. Much like yo-yo dieting, the ups and down were discouraging.
Once you taste His wonderful Presence, you’re never the same.
I’m probably not the only “over fifty” man or woman wondering if God is finished with them yet. The short answer is NO. If there is still breath in us, His plan for our life is not over. In fact, your greatest season of fruitfulness may be just ahead!
The journey is sweeter now than ever before. A few lessons learned along the way:
Doing God’s work is a poor substitute for being His friend.
Intimacy with God is not just desirable but attainable, for all His children.
God likes me. I had heard “Jesus loves me” since childhood, but He also accepts, understands, and genuinely likes me. He feels the same about you
I am enough. After many years of focusing on all I lacked, I finally realized it doesn’t matter. What I lack, He more than covers with His love. You are enough too
He is faithful, even when I’m not.
Doing God-directed work is part of who I am in Christ, not something I’m obligated to do. Service then brings joy.
Fruitfulness comes from intimacy with God, not due to our efforts.
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon, planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” Psalm 92:12-15 NIV
In case you need convincing your greatest season of fruitfulness may lie ahead, here are a few real life examples of late bloomers, from the Bible and history:
Caleb – One of the ten spies sent to the Promised Land to check it out for Moses, he and Joshua were the only ones who saw the land with eyes of faith. They wanted to go for it, but the other eight men instilled fear in the Israelites. Instead of trusting God, the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years! Joshua and Caleb were the only ones of their generation to enter and settle the Promised Land, living out the fulfillment of God’s promise. Joshua 14:10-11 tells us Caleb was still as vigorous at 85 as he had been as a young man, still going to battle for what he believed.
Abraham and Sarah – They received the promise of a child, Isaac, when they were 100 and 90, respectively, fathering (and mothering) not only a son, but a nation.
Laura Ingalls Wilder – She was 65 when she published “Little House in the Big Woods,” and finished her last book in the series at age 76.
Julia Child – Julia was a spy before following her passion for cooking. She released her first cookbook at age 50.
Peter Mark Roget – He began working on a list of words at age 69 and published it at 73, “Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases.” He continued to work on it until he was 90.
Anna Mary Robertson – Also known as Grandma Moses, she started painting when she was 78. In her 90s, she displayed her paintings internationally and continued painting until her death at 101.
Nelson Mandela – Imprisoned for over 20 years for his unwavering stance on apartheid in South Africa, he was released from prison at age 72. He then went on to become the first black president of South Africa and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.
Not everyone is called to do something for which the world will sit up and take notice; our mission field may be our family, our neighbors, our realm of influence. God’s best ministry is often private and powerful, not public and visible. Perhaps you are called to a hidden ministry like intercessory prayer, or one that seems like it’s not ministry at all, like encouragement, serving, or hospitality. It is ministry whenever you offer a cup of water in His name!
Whatever God is calling you to do, step out in the power of His Holy Spirit.
There is no retirement from serving God. (See your heavenly benefit package at Psalm 103:1-5.) The shape and form of your service may change, but each season brings new fruitfulness. God is calling us to be fruitful in every season, but especially as we age and mature in our faith.
I am still needed, and so are you. So let's age gracefully together, in the power and strength of the Lord. Our greatest season of fruitfulness is just ahead.
Bible Verse of the Day: “Now that I am old and gray, don’t abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me.” Psalm 71:18 NLT