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Growing Old Gracefully

(158)

Sermon shared by Gene Haraldsen

May 2001
Summary: Like it or not, all of us grow older...all of us age. Some enjoy joking about aging....but deep down inside growing old is something many dread....and fear.....and are willing to do anything to avoid.
Denomination: Assembly of God
Audience: General adults
Sermon:
Growing Older Gracefully
Ecclesiastics 12:1-7

It seems to me that one of the things that some people joke about most in life is aging...One way we do this is by comparing our lives to our children’s lives.

All of us have had our parents say things like:
• In my day I walked to school up hill---both ways....or...
• In my day all 12 of the children in our family slept in the same bed....we took turns using one pillow...
We also joke about our increasing age with the ever popular, "you know you’re old if" statements....You know you are old...
• if most of your dreams are re-runs...
• if your knees buckle but your belt won’t...or
• ..if you try to straighten the wrinkles in your socks and you find you aren’t wearing any....

Like it or not, all of us grow older...all of us age.
Some enjoy joking about aging....but deep down inside growing old is something many dread....and fear.....and are willing to do anything to avoid. Cosmeticians have built multimillion dollar businesses telling people how to do it. Exercise enthusiasts have sold millions of dollars worth of books and equipment, showing people how to do it. Health food manufacturers have built huge businesses producing special foods that promise it. Genetic scientists are researching ways to prevent it.

But…age still happens and since it is coming...and there is no avoiding it...what can we do to prepare ourselves for the onslaught of old age?
What does God expect of us as we age? What does He desire?

1. The first thing we need to realize is that this battle of AGING is not just a matter of good arteries... but of having a Godly Attitude.

You see, it isn’t a tragedy to grow old physically....it’s an inevitability.....it is a normal part of life....all of our bodies grow old! Our text from Ecclesiastes says as much...

The passage we read goes on to list the attitudinal characteristics of old age....what happens when a person gets old in mind and spirit.

a. This text says that one mark of old age is this: "The grasshopper becomes a burden"....in other words a grasshopper lands on the shoulder of a man and its minute weight is a burden. This phrase hints that one psychological characteristic of old age is that we are burdened down with trifles, little things bother us...there is an increased sensitivity to the trivial things of life.

You and I know a lot of people who are this way....little things bother them...the "grasshoppers of life" are a burden to them...They are always fussing and com-plaining...cranky and irritable...upset about insignificant things...they are already "old"---- psychologically....they are constantly bugged by the small things of life.

b. In verse 5 the prophet of Ecclesiastes says that another psychological characteristic of age is that men "are afraid of heights".

This means that mental aging is characterized by fear of risks in life....fear of challenges and new things. So, we are “old” when we want to keep things the same...to play it safe...when we are afraid to take chances ...afraid of the future....afraid that tomorrow will be filled with dark days. And the scripture says that to people like this “fears shall be in the way.” Some old people always look at life with anxiety and fear.

This is opposite to what God wants for us-He wants us to have faith and an expectancy of life and an abiding confidence
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