I am not 25 anymore, or 45, or even 65. But God doesn’t care. It’s Monday and my phone is ringing. My email inbox is full. My workload is steady. The harvest is ripe, as the Good Book says, and God has work for me to do. That’s the biggest surprise to me about getting older: God doesn’t worry about age. He needs willing workers. My biggest life questions aren’t about whether I will dye my hair, buff my thighs, or get a Botox shot. Instead, I’m simply asking: Am I still willing to work for God and not stop?
I never wrestled much over stages and ages of life. That’s because I’ve always worked. And work is curious and holy, no matter our age or season, our calling or color. I used to think our best years were based on timing and talents, but our best years, it turns out, are based on our godly purpose—and our willingness to labor for the cause of it. As a New York Times article recently declared about an 89-year-old Brooklyn artist: “Her Secret to a Long Life? ‘It’s Good to Work a Lot.’”
My daddy taught me this principle early on. He didn’t have sons. Instead, he had “the girls”—my sister and me, born to him and my mother in the Jim Crow ’50s. Growing up black in his proud household meant we were up at dawn every day, making our beds, clearing the dishes, sweeping the carpet, cleaning the bathroom, and moving rocks.
Yes, we moved rocks. This was in the ’60s after fair-housing laws passed, so my hardworking parents moved our “colored” family from our beloved but cramped inner-city bungalow to a squeaky clean new tract house out in the sticks. It offered us a new beginning, surrounded by suburban sameness and rocky, bare front yards. Nobody dared say we didn’t belong. So Daddy roused my sister and me early one Saturday morning and asked us to collect all the rocks. He was eager to sod the yard, determined to build a suburban-worthy lawn to calm the neighbors. So I moved rocks. All day.
I was 14 and skinny and the rocks were heavy, but the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and the work—as work tends to be—was doggone good. Standing in our long shadows at the end of the day, we looked across a sod-ready yard, not bitter but grinning. “You did good,” Daddy said. “Thanks, Daddy,” I said to him. “You did good, too.”
Of all the things my dad taught me, starting with the sufficiency of Christ and his cross, the second best was that work is a wonder. And age? It doesn’t matter. In our youth-seduced culture, aging is bemoaned and belittled. Wrinkles are reviled. Gray hairs are camouflaged.
Clearly, our culture hasn’t read the Book of Exodus. Right there in the third chapter, Moses climbs around Mount Sinai while tending his father-in-law Jethro’s sheep. He is 80 years old. But God doesn’t fret over age. Instead, God looks at Moses and says the kindest words this sojourner has probably ever heard. Take off your sandals. Meaning what? Stop wasting time on Jethro’s sheep. Stop dragging your dusty flip-flops on unholy ground. Instead, take off your sandals before me. And then? Get to real work. That’s when you can change everything, Moses is told, even if he can’t quite believe it.
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Source: Christianity Today