“Grey hair is a crown of splendour”, says Proverbs 16:31 but it is one of the worst characteristics of our culture that we seem to have less esteem than previous generations towards those who are more senior among us.
I recently came across a lovely book entitled ‘A Good Old Age’. It’s by Derek Prime, who is a widely respected pastor and Bible teacher. Prime is now in his 80s and as the blurb says on the back of his book “Old age often gets a bad press. Associated with grumpiness, aches and pains, loneliness, and isolation it’s not something we particularly look forward to or relish when we’re there.” But with biblical wisdom and practical advice, Prime addresses the various challenges and joys that he sees older age has brought him.
The sub-title of the book is ‘An A to Z of loving and following the Lord Jesus in later years’. You can see from the chapter titles that some of them cover obvious areas of the Christian life but they are applied in a very skilful and thoughtful manner to the later years of life. Other chapter titles are more intriguing – you’ll have to buy the book to find out what they’re about!
In the introduction, Prime mentions various mistakes he has found he needed to watch out for (pretending old age is not creeping up on us; always comparing the present with the past; mistrust; pessimism; self-pity). But he also highlights the wonderful potential there is to embrace. Psalm 92:14 speaks about those who ‘will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green’. And he highlights various essential areas of fruitfulness – the ability to give good and wise counsel, the opportunity to encourage younger believers, servant-heartedness, the essential role of prayer. I am so grateful for the many people among us at St. Andrew’s who model exactly this sort of thing.
Far from being a gloomy book, it is encouraging and invigorating. Physical health may begin to fail but spiritual health can grow deeper and stronger. And the church needs that – St. Andrew’s needs that! As Prime says, “in old age we may even be identified as vital members of the body of Christ: ‘those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable’ (1 Corinthians 12:22).
It’s not the sort of book to read in large chunks. The chapters are shortish – perhaps to read one a day or one a week. There’s a prayer at the end of each one to help apply it.
I would be sorry if this book isn’t read because “it’s not for me – I haven’t reached old age yet!” As one of the reviewers on the inside cover says ‘The value of these pages goes far beyond encouraging senior citizens. There is also something here for families, church leaders, and young people too.’
I must say that I found it a very encouraging read. I like to think that is surprising…but maybe it’s because I’m not as young as I like to think I am! You can get it on Amazon for £6.99 but we will also have some copies in church.
With love in Christ,