Growing older is meant to be a blessing. Proverbs says gray hair is a crown. That seems to be less respected in our day than ever before. Increasing technology and the fast pace of a changing culture seeks to make gray hair equivalent to irrelevancy. That’s why hair coloring and products to make us look more youthful are billion dollar industries today.
For me, I refuse the coloring and cosmetics. I have earned every gray hair and wrinkle that I have. To me they are signs not of aging, but hopefully of increasing in wisdom. I have passed through the “been there and done that” stage to understanding at least in part where I want to go and what I need to do to finish well.
The danger in growing older is in believing your best days are behind you. That is only reinforced when people want to talk about what they perceived as your better days. It is true I have had better days of health. It is true I have seen the Lord do some powerful things over the last 30 years of ministry…but they were only preparatory for what is to come.
Here is the lesson I have learned…
Life is seasonal and if we don’t grow in them we have failed to understand the LORD’s working in us. Successful living is not gauged by our public successes. Successful living is gauged in the knowledge of Him and how we live that out. No longer am I driven to do some of the things of the past. I am now settled into becoming the kind of man God wants me to be.
What I was in the past was more due to my gifting and anointing to minister. Don’t read into that. I was not a heathen in the pulpit. There was never glaring sin to disqualify me. The difference is now I’m more concerning about becoming all the LORD wants me to be as a man…than a minister. If my ministry success was all because of calling, gifting and anointing, all the credit goes to the LORD and the LORD alone. It was and it is.
False prophets will stand before God one day defending their successful ministries filled with crowds, signs and wonders, and preaching prowess, but they will hear depart from me, I never knew you. That tells me knowing the LORD and being known by Him are far more important than perceived ministry success. Paul’s life aim was not successful ministry, but rather to know Him and to make Him known. Something that even at the point of writing the book of Philippians, He had yet to achieve to the point he desired.
I am no longer driven to go to every church growth guru’s seminar. I am no longer driven to grow the largest church in the area. I am no longer driven to build buildings or serve on some board that does little more than take up time and give you something to add to your resume. Nor am I driven to have to preach the lights out every time I’m in the pulpit.
I much more concerned about growing people into genuine disciples of Jesus and finishing my course well. Whatever that involves and whatever the LORD chooses to do with that…I’m good.
Gray hair in the mirror reminds me I’ve already been there and done that.