Sunday, 27 November 2016

Old Age. Adventure. NoretirementinGod'skingdom.

I heard and read three things this week which got me pondering my contribution to life. The first was from an organisation called Our Daily Bread which gives reflections on a Bible reading plan. It talks about a an ancient lure used to catch trout:

"Fishermen still use this lure today. It is called the Red Hackle. First used over 2,200 years ago, it remains a snare for trout by which we “get the better of them.”
As the years add up, God's faithfulness keeps multiplying.

When I read that ancient work I thought:Not all old things are passé—especially people. If through contented and cheerful old age we show others the fullness and deepness of God, we’ll be useful to the end of our days. Old age does not have to focus on declining health, pining over what once was. It can also be full of tranquility and mirth and courage and kindness, the fruit of those who have grown old with God.

“Those who are planted in the house of the Lord . . . shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing” (Ps. 92:13–14 nkjv).

Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness throughout our lives. Help us finish our lives well in service to You and to remember that old age does not mean uselessness.

As the years add up, God’s faithfulness keeps multiplying."

The second was a reflection and celebration on Jackie Pullinger's life, as she has served God so faithfully and pioneeringly in Hong Kong for the last FIFTY years. It was by Pete Greig, founder of 24-7, He says: "Giving thanks today for this woman whose resilient witness over FIFTY years has impacted millions of lives, including my own. Whilst working with Jackie Pullinger I found my faith, discovered the power of prayer, saw that women can lead as well as men, smuggled bibles, ate dog-meat, chased men in pyjamas through Kowloon, and came to understand God's fundamental passion for justice.

Without Jackie Pullinger there might well still be a 24-7Prayer movement but I'm not sure I would ever have had the joy of being part of it. Thank you Jackie for changing this one life."

And the third was hearing about a very elderly member of my church. When my dear friend Renee went into a residential home, little Margaret Le Page faithfully posted Renee the weekly church newsletter, with a handwritten note of encouragement. Now she herself is in a nursing home, but she prays for the church members and phones them to ask how they are so that she knows more specifically how to pray for them. All she has is an armchair and a phone... and a heart willing to serve the Lord in any way she can.

As Cat and Andy prepare to go to Iraq, serving refugees, I reflect on what I have done for my life to serve God. And yes, I know it's not about DOING but BEING the best person God has designed me to be, but nevertheless.... doing is outworking of being. The most 'Jackie Pullinger' type of thing I have ever done is to teach in a bush school in Africa for a couple of years.  And spend the rest of my life trying to work out how to live better. I said 'yes' to Jesus forty odd years ago and have been trying to work out what that means and how to do it best every since.

So, nearing retirement from paid work in a couple of years, I, as I suspect others of my age do, start to reflect on how much time I have left on this earth and what I can do with it. If I were to die in a year's time, what would I do now?  

Not sure.  But it's good to reflect, be intentional... and not take myself too seriously. As in these videos:

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