Checking out a video on YouTube recently, I spotted another video which contained past and current photos of so-called US celebrities. For some reason I’ll never understand I chose to watch the video, where I learned two things. Firstly, it’s not a good idea to have too much cosmetic surgery. I’ll remind myself of that if I decide to renew my youth. Secondly, and more significant, I learned that the ageing process isn’t kind to any of us. I found myself sighing more than once when I saw the difference ageing had made. Of course, I didn’t need to watch a video to see someone age. I have a perfectly good mirror which reminds me daily that I’m no longer the George Clooney spitting image I used to be. Ok, I never was.
Ageing is not good, growing old is good. That sounds like a complete contradiction, which I fully understand because it’s not true for everyone, but it is true if you are a Christian. Why is that? Well, like everyone else Christians suffer ageing, and I deliberately use the word suffer. We grow old enduring its process. Wrinkles and grey hair are the least of our problems. We also have the aches and pains of old age, and they are far from pleasant. However, I’ll say it again, growing old is good for Christians. Why? How can that be when old age eventually leads to death? Well, that’s the good thing. Old age leads to death, and for Christians, that ushers them into an eternal life that is so much better than this current one. Ageing is not good, growing old is good because of where it leads.
Jesus once told his disciples that he was going to leave them to return to heaven. That return happened after his death and resurrection, it’s what we call the ascension. It would have been a sad word to give them, except that he also made a wonderful promise. “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (1) Jesus promised to come back for his disciples and take them to a place beyond space and time, where they would live for ever. That promise still applies today. Every Christian believes that one day Jesus will return for them. It’s possible that we may be alive when he finally returns to earth so we will go to be with him then. It’s also true that when we die we go to be with him.
The Apostle Paul once questioned which was better, living or dying. This was a man who had faced intense persecution, so death may have seemed pleasurable, but he also knew he had work to do for God. He put it this way, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith.” (2) Why was death gain? Because he would depart and be with Christ.
Everyone who knows Jesus as their Saviour shares Paul’s attitude. That’s what makes growing old good. Although we are subjected to all the problems that ageing brings, each day that passes takes us nearer to Jesus. We’re not worried about growing old, neither are we scared of death itself.
You too can live without a fear of death but it requires knowledge of the Lord Jesus. It means understanding that he is God’s Son who died for you, to give you eternal life. It means asking God to forgive your sins. It means choosing to live for Jesus. One day Christians will be “with the Lord for ever.” (3) Why don’t you join us?
- John 14:2,3
- Philippians 1:21-25
- 1 Thessalonians 4:18