I was on vacation last week and came to a startling realization: I am no longer young. I did some landscaping and shrub removal for a family member on day one of the vacation and suffered with back, arm and leg aches through day three. On day five I went to an indoor trampoline park for an hour of family fun jumping and flipping – I was seriously winded after five minutes and sore for another day. The last two days of the vacation we spent camping and I, again, felt old (needing an air mattress but still being unable to sleep comfortably on the ground).
When do we “get old”? When do we no longer act like our parents’ children and start acting like our parents? Somehow, I feel like I have passed a milestone – my passage from youthful exuberance and energy to mature responsibility and sensibility – but I didn’t realize it. I now catch myself watching commercials for term life insurance and medical security systems and think, “That’s something I should think about.” I have begun to be the cautious driver (with my left blinker on) travelling in the right lane muttering about the reckless drivers passing by me. I have gotten old.
My only hope, as I am now beginning to feel my age, is that I would be, simultaneous with the loss of physical ability, realizing the biblical hope of gaining wisdom and maturity. It is a fact that the chronological clock causes everyone’s muscles to ache with time, but the mileage we accumulate as we rotate around the sun several dozen times can also provide us with insight and experience to make the trip a bit more pleasing. It is my hope and prayer that what I may be losing in mobility I might be gaining in maturity.
I had the opportunity, while on vacation, of visiting the church where my oldest son serves as an intern. The pastor’s message was based on the calling of Samuel, which is recorded in 1 Samuel 3. For those unfamiliar with the narrative, allow me to give a brief review: Samuel’s parents cannot raise him so they bring him to the temple to be raised by the chief priest, Eli; after a while, a sleeping Samuel is awakened 3 times by a voice; Samuel assumes it is Eli calling him; Eli says it is not him, but God, and to listen to Him; God gives a message to Samuel about the terrible fate of Eli due to terrible sins he’d committed; Eli asks Samuel what God said; Samuel overcomes his hesitancy and fear of hurting Eli’s feelings and shares the truth. Samuel displayed spiritual maturity. This Bible account is a reminder that this kind of maturity is possible at any age, even adolescence.
“The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.” 1 Samuel 3:19
Gaining spiritual maturity is one thing – knowing what is right, good and godly – and living with spiritual maturity is another. I suppose that is the distinctive that changes a boy into a man or a girl into a woman. That is what I want to expend my energies doing: what is right, good and godly. I may no longer be able to raise my arms above my head after cutting down a tree with a reciprocating saw, but I can continue to do the right thing in helping a family member. I may not last more than fifteen minutes without a break at Skyzone©, but I can enjoy a good thing in spending time with my wife and children. I may not have the agility to last more than a night in a tent, but I can point my children’s gaze to the godly majesty of nature every now and then.
So, I am a responsible adult. I pray that I act accordingly.