Recently, I drove to Virginia Beach early on a Sunday morning to watch an ordination service … for my mother! My 80-something mother was ordained as an assistant pastor in charge of Women’s Ministry at Beach Fellowship Church.
Let me repeat that … My 80-something mother was ordained as a pastor.
For the first time since her twenties, she is being paid. She was given an iPhone, so she sends text messages on a regular basis to church members and family. Text Messages? Did I mention she is in her 80s?
You might be thinking that this is really an honorary title. Wrong! She is an active and vibrant pastor at a church growing in spirit and in numbers among all age groups. She has an office, regularly attends staff meetings, and has a full schedule teaching and visiting. While I was there, at least four people interrupted to ask her questions about how to handle church related matters.
Whenever I start to feel the burdens of age and ministry, I think about my mother and her enthusiasm for serving the Lord.
Growing older is a continual adjustment in our way of thinking and living, but it never means dwelling on the past or sitting in your rocking chair while the world goes by!
Barbara Johnson says in Living Somewhere Between Estrogen and Death: “Growing old is only a state of mind … brought on by gray hairs, false teeth, wrinkles, a big belly, shortness of breath and being constantly and totally pooped.”
Old age, like anything, has benefits to enjoy and obstacles to endure or overcome but what makes each of us unique is our attitude.
Here are other octogenarians who refuse to “act their age.”
- When Florence wasn’t busy with church activities she was performing with her local dance troupe. By the way she doesn’t do the minuet: Florence clogs. Her biggest complaint is that all the men who want to date her act too old! When I first wrote this, Florence was 83 years young.
- Lil could be seen most any day in a jogging outfit walking around town at a pace that would make younger people gasp for breath. When she was not out on the golf course, Lil was taking a leadership role within her church or involved in community affairs.
- Fred & Betty in their eighties were active in our local church for years, teaching Sunday school and singing in the choir. If you needed something organized, Fred and Betty were the ones to call. But you would think they just got married the way they do everything together. The new addition on their house was to make room for a new Jacuzzi: those lovebirds!
All of these unique individuals, years ago spent nine months in an intensive Bible Study, meeting for two and half hours each week reading the entire Bible. Why?
- All of them share a passion to learn and grow stronger in their faith.
- Their eyes are firmly fixed on the future and the continuing role God has for them.
- They possess a wonderful sense of humor and an ability to laugh at themselves.
- They are all firmly resolved to never give in to the obstacles of old age.
Paul writes in Ephesians: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, … to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (4:22–24).
Are you fighting fatigue, feeling run-down? Paul reminds us to “put off our old self and be made new, to put on a new self, created to be like God.”
Don’t give up on our older population.
They still have a lot to contribute and they have a lifetime of experience to share as mentors and yes, even ministers.
Just ask my mother.
Paul reminds us to let God continually renew our spirits regardless of our circumstances or our age. What a great promise! Now if you’ll excuse me, I just received a text message from Mom.
About Larry Davies
Larry Davies is currently the Lynchburg, Virginia District Superintendent for 89 United Methodist Churches. He has been the pastor of small, medium, and large churches. For many years, Larry managed and trained sales people in the automobile business. He is also the author of Live the Light: Five Weeks to a Light that Shines and three other books. Larry is the founder of Sowing Seeds of Faith, a worldwide prayer ministry and writing ministry, www.SowingSeedsofFaith.com. His columns and blog posts appear in several newspapers, magazines, and websites. Larry is a graduate of Virginia Tech and received his Master of Divinity at Duke University. Mell, Larry’s wife, recently retired from Concord Elementary School. Larry’s oldest son Stephen is married to Brandy, and they have a one-year-old bundle of energy, Jackson. Larry’s daughter Lisa is engaged to be married to Bobby. He and Mell also have a lively but older Springer Spaniel named Daisy.