Living in a “retirement” community is interesting at best. First of all, I challenge anyone to show me in the Bible where we are ever encouraged to “retire.”
The best example I can see of how to face the “golden years” is found in the life of Caleb in the Old Testament.
Caleb was one of only two individuals who saw the Promised Land firsthand and felt that the children of Israel should simply trust God to go before them into the land. The other individual was Joshua!
These two men, because of their faith in God, were the only ones of their ages who survived the forty years of wandering in the wilderness which came about as a result of the nation’s lack of faith.
As the children of Israel finally crossed the Jordan River, and the tasks for moving into the land were parceled out, Caleb, now 85 years of age, approaches Joshua and says, “Give me another mountain to conquer, young man! I’m not done yet!” (This is my paraphrase of his words, but check it out in Joshua 14:6-12!)
The point is that God wants to use us all of our lives, not just during our youth! But that does not mean that in the older years of life, the tasks of daily living and keeping healthy do not get more difficult.
I read recently of a rather elderly man in England who was having trouble hearing. On his next visit to his doctor, the physician put his patient through a rigorous examination of his ears and gave him an extensive test on his hearing.
At the end of the exam, the doctor approached his patient and asked his permission to make one simple change. He took the hearing aid which the man had been wearing in his left ear, removed it from his left ear, and then inserted it into his right ear. The man could hear 100 percent better instantly.
The doctor told him that for 20 years this gentleman had been wearing that hearing aid in the wrong ear! And for 20 years this man had been listening to the sounds around him, but hearing very little.
I must admit that, although I am not yet wearing those appliances, that dilemma sounds like something I could very easily do!
Oftentimes, when pastors get together they speak of similar things happening on Sunday mornings. Sometimes they talk about having a whole congregation of people who listen but really don’t hear. Other times, they talk about the fact that every Sunday morning it seems like they are talking in the middle of other people’s sleep!
In Hebrews chapter 1, we read that God HAS spoken! (check out verses 1 and 2!). And if God has spoken, there is nothing more important than listening to what He has said!
There is no more important activity, no more crucial pastime, no more life-changing hobby or entertainment we can pursue than to know, understand, and do what He has said!
Now in the days in which we live, with all of the terrorism and other tragic events of our times, many will say that those events are evidences that there is no such thing as “GOD” and that He has not spoken.
My statement is quite the contrary. While the easy way to explain the events of recent history would be to deny the existence of such a God, the really surprising thing is that it is of the Lord and His mercies that we were ALL not consumed (Check out Lamentations 3:22-23).
It is evidence of God’s existence, of His provision, of His grace and His faithfulness that you and I were able to get out of bed this morning, put our feet to the floor, and go about our daily tasks at all! Hebrews 1 tells us that in Christ, God sustains all things by His powerful word.
He is in control, and will guide and direct our paths if only we will let Him. The “stuff” (that’s a technical term – look it up!)of life is indeed tragic, and oftentimes very upsetting. The reason these things have been allowed to occur by a sovereign “in-control” type of God is definitely hard to understand. But God doesn’t ask us to understand them. He only asks us to believe in Him!
Even though God spoke through the prophets of old, He was not finished speaking until He came to us in His Son. And even though the word of the prophets was something to be listened to and obeyed, the revelation which God gave of Himself in Jesus Christ was something like nothing else!
And He is someone to be listened to! Like E.F.Hutton of old, when Jesus talks people really ought to listen!
But that also means that when we listen, we do what He says to do! James, the brother of the Lord put it so succinctly when he penned these words: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)
One of the more popular cell phone companies ran an advertising campaign for quite a long time which featured a man moving from place to place with a cell phone to his ear and saying into the phone, “Can you hear me now?”
How about you? While you may not be of retirement age or use hearing aid appliances, do you ever fell that you have trouble hearing from God?
Maybe it is because you are not listening to Jesus! Or maybe it is even because you are not doing what He has already told you to do!
As the songwriter of old said, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”
It may sound simplistic, but the truth of the matter is that listening to God, as He speaks to you in the Bible, is the very first step to trusting Him.
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Hillsboro Times-Gazette and the Wilmington News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Faith Community Church in Hillsboro and Port William UMC.