Written by Joney Caudill
Next November, if the Lord wills, I will celebrate my seventy-second birthday. Even as I type that fact, I find it difficult to believe. I look in the mirror and, yes, I see a somewhat familiar looking, seventy-ish woman looking back. However I still struggle to grasp the truth! Why even my doctor agrees that I am very healthy for my age.
With all that in mind, I would like to say that the mandate to grow and go make disciples is daunting and downright impossible for many folks my age and even younger. Many of my friends, fellow Christians, are refusing to even entertain the idea that they should still be expected to actively serve God in their “twilight” years. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall reading about retirement in scripture. In fact, most of God’s servants—Moses, Joshua, Abraham, and Samuel, for example—served God until they breathed their last breath.
Let’s take a moment to examine the lives of two more aging servants and the reward for their faithful service: Simeon and Anna! You can find Simeon beginning in Luke 2:25.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout [carefully observing the divine Law] and looking for the Consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). Prompted by the Spirit, he came into the temple [enclosure]; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him the custom required by the Law, Simeon took Him into his arms, and blessed and praised and thanked God, and said, Now, Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to leave [this world] in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your Salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, Light for revelation to the Gentiles [to disclose what was previously unknown] And [to bring] the praise and honor and glory of Your people Israel (Luke 2: 25-32 AMB).
As I read this again, I notice several encouraging points: Simeon was righteous and devout, and he was looking for God’s anointed Messiah. He was energized by the Holy Spirit, and he believed in the Holy Spirit’s promise: “he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” He was also obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and, because of that, he got to hold the Holy One in his arms! He was quick to worship and praise God, and he was, at that point, excited to leave the world behind and spend eternity with his God.
Next let’s talk about Anna. We see only one paragraph about Anna in the entire New Testament, but it is a powerful one. We can find her a little further down in Luke 2:36.
There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old and had lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She did not leave the [area of the] temple but was serving and worshiping night and day with fasting and prayers. She, too, came up at that very moment and began praising and giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all who were looking for the redemption and deliverance of Jerusalem” (Luke 2: 36-38 AMB).
Here are some of Anna’s attributes which we would do well to emulate: She was a widow, but she was still serving God at the age of 84. (If I am blessed to live as long as Anna, I have at least twelve more years to actively serve the Lord! Now that’s a reason to keep moving!) At that age, she still served in the temple, and she was still actively serving and worshiping her God. (Day and night, by the way!) She invested her time by fasting and praying. She spread the good news about this baby who, as she said, was born for the redemption and deliverance of Jerusalem.
God’s goal for life—all of life—is for us to invest every last minute serving Him. If we spend our days only investing in ourselves, what do we gain? As for me, I will invest my remaining days growing and going to make disciples. How about you?