SCHOOL OF ISRAEL
Mini-Study Guides, 1994-5
"More Than Conquerors"
17. How Never To Be Old
Scripture Meditation: Isaiah 46:1-13
The next item on Paul's list of things that cannot separate us from the love of God is "the present". I wonder what he meant by that? Almost certainly he meant: don't let things the way they are -- present circumstances -- separate you from Christ's love. The monotony of work and the monotony of home hits many of us quite hard, making life monotonous. Life just seems to be "more of the same" over and over again.
But the tyranny of monotony can be broken, for there is a stimulus in Christ that puts a spark in life and makes it creative amid the uncreative. Far too many Christians get bored and want some kind of entertainment to alleviate their boring lives -- the result is often a path out of harmony with the Lord's will, or worse, into direct sin.
In South Africa where I once briefly stayed during the apartheid régime many years ago, middle class white women were usually bored. They were rich, had lots of servants, but had nothing to do. The chief "escape" for these women was extra-marital affairs. Solomon wrote: "If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks" (Eccl.10:18, NIV). A monotonous lifestyle can make us lazy and indifferent until our spiritual house "leaks" and we find ourselves laid open to temptation.
As New Covenant Christians this ought not to be a problem. Most of you have read the Mary-Martha revelation which the Holy Order has given us to share with the world. We learn that learning to be a "Martha" -- doing monotonous, repetitive work, is a part of our spiritual training here because such teaches us many virtues -- patience, long-suffering, and inventiveness, to name but three. I am sure every one of us has complained at some time that life is boring -- the same old thing. But this is fundamentally to miss a point. God isn't saying: "Why, you poor old bored thing! Go out into the world and pep your life up a little". No, no, no! Jesus is saying: "Things present do not have any terror for you because you do not belong to them. You belong to Me!" By receiving the creative spirit of Christ, you are able to make all things serve.
This is a most important lesson for this people to learn. Until it is learned there will be no candidates for Zion. If you can't make an apparently monotonous and boring situation fruitful, then the moment you get into Zion and start facing the same problems there, your heart will reach out for the world. And then the Zionic dream will fade out of your heart, and you too will drift out of Zion.
I'll be honest with you -- I have found my job crushingly boring this last year and all I have wanted to do is find a way out. But all this really is a symptom of my doubting God's providence. Maybe God will change my job, maybe He won't. But for now I must learn to be creative. If you look carefully -- whether you are a housewife or a bread-earner, you will always -- always -- find room for the creative life of Christ to make your home or workplace one of contentment, self-satisfaction and joy. I promise you. What you mustn't do is run away. If you have, quickly "run back" and pick up the pieces of your life that you left behind and which God intended you to solve in the environment He placed you. Otherwise one of life's opportunities may slip you by forever. Never forget how short life in this world is.
Paul goes on to join the "present" with the "future". Millions are afraid of the future. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the future is the idea of growing old. Boy, have I had problems with that -- especially when I turned 40 and after a serious accident and pneumonia. I have felt my mortality more than once in recent times. People should be taught how to grow old, just as we teach young people to grow up. The shock of retirement, for example, is overwhelming for those who are not inwardly prepared for it.
Dr. Martin Gumpert, in his book You are Younger Than You Think, says that "idleness is the greatest enemy of the aged and presents them with their ticket to death." Michelangelo was writing poetry and designing buildings up to the time of his death at 90. Many people have done their finest work in old age. No doubt I shall be writing sermons until my death bed (no, no, please don't groan! Maybe I'll find something else to do!!) The secret is never to retire from life. If you have to give up your business then take up new interests or revive old interests. And if those interests serve the Kingdom of God, then so much the better.
Well, I'm 40 now, but I wouldn't be 16 again for anything. Life is too much fun. And serving Christ to the best of one's ability is the most wonderful thing anyone can do. We New Covenant Christians -- when we are doing our duty -- have a reputation for being busy. I pray that you will always be busy. If you're bored, then there is some repenting to do. Let us pray:
O Lord, I am thankful for the years that come and go, and above all, I am thankful for the possibility that they can grow more beautiful and blessed. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This page was created on 16 May 1998
Updated on 16 May 1998
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