Many years ago, when I desired to start a ministry and preach Christ, I asked God, Lord, what should I emphasize in my messages? And the Lord led me to Isaiah chapter 40. In it were described three types of messages that God wanted me to preach.
I will cover the first two types in my other messages. In this message I want to tell you about the third aspect of preaching God wants all his servants to focus on.
Here is the passage about the third type of messages.
A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. Is 40:6-7
I do not know about how other people who are in their senior years feel about their present age – people in their late sixties or seventies, or older, but let me tell you how I feel about my age today.
I feel I was cheated of my years. That’s how I feel today.
I was a bouncing and bubbly young man, and suddenly I woke up one morning to find I was a middle-aged man. And then, almost soon after, I suddenly woke up one morning to find I am an old man. It doesn’t seem fair at all.
Where did the intervening years, from the time I was a young man to the time I am a senior man, go? It went like lightning, so fleetingly fast I have little memory of these years.
Today, when I look at my face, my wrinkled skin, and my white hair, I know my body is old. But when I consider the state of my mind, when I think of my desires and aspirations, when I think of the enjoyment of pleasures, I still feel just as I felt when I was a young man in my twenties and thirties.
But it’s no use. Society is not going to treat me on the basis of how I think of my present age. I am always treated as an old man in the sight of society.
My body does not agree with my mind. I want to run and roll down a grassy hill, I want to go on a roller coaster, I want to do all that I did as a young man, but my body will not allow me. I cannot walk up a hill, let alone roll down its slope, I have to take care how I walk, otherwise I will stumble and fall.
Young people respect me, but they do not want my friendship or my company. I have to be content chatting with people of my own age. And, frankly, they are boring old men who talk endlessly about boring subjects. I want the company of energetic people, but then I am an old man myself, and I am only going to get older each day, and lose more of my once energetic bodily functions. My system is shutting down one by one.
You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered. Ps 90:5-6
Look at the lives of the great celebrities who were once young and beautiful like you are today. Before they knew it, all their glory passed away.
So this is what I want to tell you, you who are in your twenties, thirties, forties, and even fifties.
Before you know it, your old age will come like a speeding express train. It will come far, far more swiftly than you can ever imagine now, and then it will be your turn to become an old man or an old lady.
Life today looks like it will go on indefinitely like it is now…on and on and on. But realize this, young man or woman, don’t be deceived by what you see around you. And what do you see before you today? Do you see your office desk, your colleagues going about busily their work? Do you see your pretty wife, or youthful husband, or your lovely children going about their various activities in your home? Do you see your body, with all its functions still working without stuttering and puffing and coughing?
If these are the sights you are blessed to see around you today, then, dear young man or young woman – do this from today if you don’t want to suffer the terrible remorse of having forever lost the awesome opportunities of your vigorous years: Ponder each of the blessings you have today, and let its awesomeness sink into your mind.
Think of the awesomeness of the job you have, of all the friends you have, of the young wife or husband you have, of the children who come running to you because you are still the greatest person in their lives. And appreciate, and thank God for, every single one of these blessings you have today. Appreciate every single second you have been given with your loved ones today.
For soon, far sooner than you can realize, every one of these awesome blessings will be gone from you, and you will be left with only memories and nostalgia.
My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle. They end without hope.
O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness [of youth]. Job 7:6-7 NLT
Do you know how a weaver’s shuttle flies? It moves from one end to the other of the weaving machine, and as soon the shuttle reaches the other end it flies back to the opposite end.
From the age of 10 your age flies swiftly to the age of 20, and then it flies to 30, and then to 40 and then to 50, and then to 60, then to the age of 70.
Your age moves so swiftly from one decade to another it actually seems like it is flying. And then the shuttle stops moving at 80 or a few years after that.
Every day of your life as a young person, when you wake up energetically to a new morning, try to keep these words, which I give below, of the wisest man who ever lived, and I believe he himself did not realize how fleeting his youth was until he lost it himself. Hear these words of King Solomon, as given in the New Living Translation:
Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.
Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator.
Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky.
Remember him before your legs—the guards of your house—start to tremble; and before your shoulders—the strong men—stoop. Remember him before your teeth—your few remaining servants—stop grinding; and before your eyes—the women looking through the windows—see dimly.
Remember him before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint.
Remember him before you become fearful of falling and worry about danger in the streets; before your hair turns white like an almond tree in bloom, and you drag along without energy like a dying grasshopper, and the caperberry no longer inspires sexual desire.
Remember him before you near the grave, your everlasting home, when the mourners will weep at your funeral.
Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well.
For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
Eccl 11:6-12:7 NLT
Your body will shock you by the great changes it undergoes with age, and it’s coming sooner than you can imagine. But if you make the most of your time now living as God wants you to live, you will be prepared, and you will suffer no remorse and unhappiness of old age, like the retired celebrities do.
There will be a grace and attractiveness about your body and your face, which only people blessed by God will have in their old age.
Have a great life, child of God!