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Friday, 19 June 2015

Reflection on Psalm 92

   There are things that get worse over time.  Some examples that come to mind are as follows:

  • cars full of rust or continually breaking down
  • meat and other food products that spoil when kept too long
  • pencils that get shorter and shorter until they can no longer be used
  • clothing that becomes threadbare
  • last year's newest technology
   In contrast, some things improve over time.  We might include such things on a list:
  • wine or other fermented drinks
  • coins that gain value the older they are
  • apple trees, which can grow more fruit as the branches extend 
  • a person's skills with practice, including handwriting, musical ability, driving
   Into which grouping would we place human beings?  On the one hand, as people get past a certain age, they are likely to experience more health problems.  Aging is often associated with pain and infirmities.  But on the other hand, as people grow older, they are likely to become more knowledgeable and skilled in all kinds of things that benefit society as a whole.  Life experience is valued in most jobs and professions.  
Free range stock photo
When Psalm 92 speaks about "the righteous," they are compared to palm trees and cedars of Lebanon.  The metaphor continues with the statement: "They will still bear fruit in old age, they will say fresh and green" (Psalm 92:14).  Despite the trials of growing old, the Bible affirms that productivity rather than worthlessness characterizes those whose hope is in God.  Unlike the ideals of retirement promoted by financial planners that include cruises, self-indulgence and leisure, the biblical picture of old age has to do with fruitfulness and purpose.
   I know many seniors who are living out this latter lifestyle.  They sew, knit or crochet items for the disadvantaged.  They volunteer at food banks and schools.  They take the time to visit those who are too ill or weak to go out.  They are prayer warriors.  They lead teams of volunteers to repair homes damaged in floods and hurricanes. They help resettle refugees.  They provide care and love to their grandchildren. They make bookmarks and send notes of encouragement to others.  They share their wealth without keeping track.  They serve in the role of elders in their churches.  I could go on.
   They have so much to offer.  When I grow up, I want to be like them.  

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