Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Go On Getting Older

Konrad Adenauer was a German statesman and from 1949-1963 was first chancellor of the Federal Republic. He, as I understand, did much to advance the international prestige of West Germany and presided over its postwar recovery. When Adenauer, lovingly nicknamed, "the old man" was approaching ninety, he caught a bad cold. His physician, unable to be very much help, had to put up with Adenauer's impatience. "I'm not a magician," protested the harassed doctor. "I can't make you young again."

"I haven't asked you to," retorted Konrad. "All I want is to go on getting older."

I suppose it's true that most of us want to "go on getting older." Bless your hearts; there are some of you who are desirous of the end of life right now. Don't take your own life. Talk with someone about your feelings. Let them know how you are feeling. Things can be better, and with some help they will be. Some among us, because the poor shape of their health, are longing for death to come as relief. Paul described himself as one caught in the middle. He knew that to depart to be with Christ would be a wonderful step for him. On the other hand, he knew the importance continuing to preach the gospel and encourage the saints. Most of us though, want to continue to live and enjoy life.

The problem is that we just don't know if that is going to happen. We can do some things to make sure that we stay healthy, and we should. We go to the doctor when we are sick so that he can do some things to make us well, and we should. It is true, however, that heart attacks, strokes, cancers, car wrecks, murders, and accidents can and do happen. James wrote, "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (NIV) Not only that, but Jesus has promised to return and the time of his coming is growing closer every day. Even if we don't die, then, our time on earth could still be over today.

What should I do then? What kind of direction does God give me since my time here is limited and some day I will cease "going on getting old." Peter wrote "So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation." In a similar context, Jesus directed that a blameless life would be characterized by feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and imprisoned, caring for stranger, and giving drink to the thirsty.

Maybe some day I'll be nearly ninety and telling a doctor that I want to go on getting older. I hope that my health will be such that going on is a blessing rather than a pain. What will still need to be true at that time is that I am ready to be with the Lord. Surely the day of death will be closer than it is right now. I'll have to be ready.

Right now I'm forty-two. I hope that I will live longer. I love my wife and my kids and enjoy the life that we are spending together. I delight in working with the South Yukon Church. The truth be told, being prepared for death when I'm ninety is no more important than being prepared for death right now. We have always got to be ready. That's Life at Work!

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