Bible Verse: “May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:17)

Scripture Reading: Psalm 90:1-17

There are a number of Biblical examples who maintained a life of service into their older years rather than retiring from it.

Abraham, in answer to God’s call, began a journey of faith that would eventually take him to Canaan. At first, he sojourned at Haran, but after the death of his father, the Lord called him to Canaan (Acts 7:2-4). He lived a life of obedience by trusting God (Gen. 12:1-9). He was promised a son and he believed it even though he was nearly a hundred years old and his wife Sarah was beyond the age of fertility (Gen. 17:17-19; Heb. 11:11). Some years later, after receiving that son of promise, he passed the test of being willing to sacrifice his own son, Isaac, as a supreme act of obedience to God in the most difficult circumstances for any father (Gen. 22). He had clung to God’s promises over many years, embodied the virtues of long-suffering patience, trusting in God’s ultimate faithfulness, and followed God throughout his whole life till death at the age of 175 (Gen. 25:7).

Moses, after spending his first 40 years as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and the second 40 years as a runaway and shepherd for the flocks of Jethro/Reuel (Exod. 2:18; Acts 7:23-30), finally received a humanly impossible mission from God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt (Exod. 3:10). He followed God faithfully and dedicated his life to serving the Lord for yet another 40 years to the very end of his life. This great leader of the Israelites died at the age of 120 (Deut. 34:7), confident that the work of his hand was established by the Lord (Psalm 90:17).

The Apostle John, the last survivor of the Twelve Apostles, was dwelling at Ephesus until about 100 A.D. He was the author of one of the four Gospels, three New Testament epistles, and the book of Revelation. While in Ephesus, by order of the Roman emperor Domitian, John was exiled to an island called Patmos. When he was released from exile, he returned to Ephesus and lived till the time of the Roman emperor Trajan. According to church tradition, when John was evidently an old man in Ephesus, he had to be carried to the church in the arms of his disciples. It is said that John founded and built churches throughout all Asia, and worn out by old age, he died at about ninety years of age in the beginning of the second century and was buried near Ephesus.

These, and many more, are Biblical examples of finishing well and lifelong contributors to the purposes of God.

— Gerald K. Chan in Serving in the Golden Years: The Tribe of Caleb
© 2016 by Gerald K Chan. Used by permission.

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