There’s a comical scene in the film East is East where the protagonist George buys a barber’s chair for a paltry sum from a street market and places it in his living room as a piece of furniture. This scene always brings back fond memories of my father who was also in the habit of discovering abandoned property and jubilantly putting it to fresh use. I still remember him bringing home a dusty old ottoman (a low piece of upholstered furniture), which was probably fished out of a skip and insisting it could serve a useful purpose in our sitting room. Naturally, my mother was having none of it and once my father had lovingly scrubbed it clean, it was banished to the garden where it became a treasured fixture for us children. I still remember it with deep affection.
We now live in a world where everything must be new. Whether it’s a car, house or gadget, we’re expected to upgrade every few years. This philosophy has also made its way into the workplace, where middle aged executives are regularly shuffled into redundancy because age has no value. Despite the best efforts of aging politicians in the US and our entertainment industry, youth is still favoured over experience and wisdom. So, what is it about modern society that has such an aversion to age? Why are we conditioned to believe we outlive our usefulness once we age? This was not the way God planned it. Every year has seasons and every season is unique and magnificent in its own right. Our lives are just like the seasons – each offering a different delicacy if we have the eyes to see.
It’s undoubtedly exciting to be young and nothing thrills me more than to listen to the aspirations of our boys. The vicarious joy I derive from seeing the world through their eyes is the gift they offer me. But I have a gift for them too. I have wisdom, experience and understanding which can help them on their way. And that’s the way God planned it. When God created us, He meant for us to grow old. It wasn’t an oversight or a mistake. The Bible says,“Wisdom belongs to the aged and understanding to the old” (Job 12:12), because God intended for us to age so we would become wise and counsel our young. When I was a child my mother worked full time, yet still had the energy to take care of three children, a husband and a home. Today, she is almost eighty-one years old and spends most of her day resting. Does that mean she no longer has any use? Hell no! She’s the heart of our home. The candle in the window on a cold winter’s night. The first person we greet when we enter the house and the unequivocal manifestation of God’s presence in our lives. Age has not diminished her value but enhanced it.
Perhaps you’re still in your twenties with the world at your feet? Enjoy it. It’s a wonderful time. Or perhaps your hair has turned grey, opportunities have dried up and you’re wondering if your best days are behind you? Forget it! A new season is waiting for you. A life filled with experiences that you wouldn’t have appreciated in your youth. The earthly world is afraid of age and wants to hide it away. Don’t let it. Embrace it. It holds great promise and purpose. You may not enjoy the same purpose you held ten years ago but that’s a good thing. Who wants to play their life on repeat year after year? Embrace change. We can’t evolve without it. Remember, you were created by an Almighty God. Save Him the trouble of rescuing you from the proverbial rubbish dump and take another look at yourself. You still have great promise. You still have great potential. You still have a great purpose. Step forward and claim it.