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Vantage point

Young and old

When I pastored in Oregon, our church grounds regularly served as a shortcut for kids going to or from school. Many walked (or skateboarded) down the walkway that bordered our building. Because the walkway went right by my office, I frequently overheard parts of their conversations.

One afternoon, I heard a pair of middle-school boys have the following interchange:

“It’s my mom’s birthday today.”

“Yeah? How old is she?”

“She’s old.”

“Well, how old?”

“She’s really old.”

“How old?” the one boy repeated, more loudly.

“She’s 40!” the answer finally came.

Even then, when I was only slightly over this schoolboy’s mark for being “really old,” I winced.

The definitions of “young” and “old” change according to one’s own age. There are other factors that affect that perception. Forty is very old in some of the Third-World countries I’ve been in where the life expectancy is in the 40s.

In this country we are looking at an average life span that continues to lengthen. These extra years afford people two choices: be old longer, or be young longer.

Relatively young people can act grumpy and intolerant as their opinions get fixed. And I have met genuinely aged folks who are definitely young in spirit. One lady in her 80s approached me after a banquet. “I know a lot of people my age dislike this new worship music,” she told me, “and, frankly, it’s not what I prefer. But when I look at young people passionately worshiping Jesus, how can I be displeased? I think it’s wonderful!”

I’ve also met young people who have realized how much the older generation has to offer … even in their music. It is a sign of maturity when people begin to realize how much people older than they are have to offer.

Young person, there are older saints who can bless you. Make it clear to them that they are valued and give them the opportunity to sow into your life.

Older person, determine to stay young in spirit, and be open to ways in which the Holy Spirit can use you. God is not finished with you yet.

Ken Horn

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