Friday, May 01, 2009

Un-Retired Disciples

On Wednesday evenings at Woodward Park, Steve Powers and I are leading a Bible study focusing on the Gospel of Luke and Luke’s unique contributions to our understanding of Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. Last Wednesday, our intriguing discussion focused on Luke 2.25-38 and the blessing that befell two senior saints. Simeon and Anna are both aged and have longed to see with their own eyes the arrival of the Messiah. Because they are in the right place (the Temple precincts) at the right time (the presentation of Jesus), both were blessed to give thanks to God and to testify about the eternity-altering difference Jesus would make.

Simeon and Anna have much to teach us about aging. We often speak of “aging gracefully,” but Simeon and Anna teach us that “aging faithfully” is equally important! Aging in faithful surrender to God is crucial for our faith heritage. Our children need unretired models (at least in our devotion to God) of faithfulness, prayer, and service to others. I love how Darrell Bock puts it in his commentary on Luke in the NIV Application Series. Retirees, as you read this paragraph, consider how you might invest your time in the service of the kingdom:

“Finally, the age of Simeon and Anna reminds us that ‘retirement’ years may be a misnomer for believers. Many elderly people are freed up by retirement to pursue ministry in a way they could not give full energy to when they were employed. I am reminded of a group of senior citizens in our church, a group whom we affectionately call ‘the gray beards.’ One of them has taken on the responsibility of editing the church paper after years of helping edit the high school paper where he taught. For years God had prepared him to have a ministry of communication to our body. Another couple have dedicated themselves to various projects at a sister church of ours in the inner city, whether it means tutoring kids of different ethnic origin who lack parental involvement or just helping with various building projects at the church. A woman with severe arthritis cannot do much but pray regularly for the body. She may be one of our strongest members who is doing more than many. Finding contentment doing God’s will is a goal that can be reached as we creatively reflect on how we can best minister for him” (p. 98).