Billy Graham (BGEA)
With the passing of Rev. Billy Graham, I have been thinking of what it means to age in Christ. Billy Graham was a godly man who was used by God to bless others right up until the day of his passing into the presence of God. He has been a great example to all of us of what a ‘good and faithful servant’ looks like, and he looked forward to entering heaven’s gates with great anticipation.
This quote really sums up his thoughts on leaving this earth: “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”—Billy Graham
Until our time on earth is done
It is truly wonderful that God has given us all gifts. Some, however, feel that once they reach a certain age, their gifts are no longer valuable or useful. It is sad but true that this is a common thought process amongst the ageing. Whether it be from the way they are treated by others, or from what their thought conversations are, growing older can make many feel ‘out of the game’ or like ‘that ship has sailed’.
There is a moment in life where it is said many people feel they become ‘invisible’—the feeling of no longer being useful or even noticed, most commonly due to their age. We live in a world predominantly focussed on the younger generations, and yet there is a whole new spectrum of beauty and giftedness to be seen and found in the not so young.
Don’t let anyone look down on you—even if you’re old
We often hear the scripture passage quoted from 1 Timothy chapter 4, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” This is a wonderful verse showing us that God is keen for us to get started in Kingdom work asap.
On the other end of the scale, we are also to honour those who are older. This verse is not quoted as often, but balances the process out beautifully: “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”’—1 Timothy chapter 5 verses 17-18
Treading out the grain
While we are all growing older, (even if we are young we are constantly growing older) it is good to remember that those ‘good and faithful servants’ whose focus is on God’s work, are still continuously ‘treading out the grain’ which should not cease because of their age.
The elders in our midst are a kaleidoscope of colours made up of years of ‘life’. If we could imagine each year as a texture or a colour on a ‘coat of life’ imagine the magnificent coats our ‘more mature friends’ are wearing! Each have had experiences unique to them and with each year grows wisdom and understanding that only age and experience can bring. They are a treasure trove of wonderful insights and worthy of the time it takes to pause, learn and soak in their knowledge.
Never too old
I was recently speaking with a lovely ‘mature-aged’ woman at a church function. I listened as she told me her story. She had had a full life working in ministry and churches, until she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Praise be to God, she was recently miraculously and completely healed, and though she felt she was now too old to be of any use, God had other plans.
This child of God has been given a second chance in her mature years, which is a clear sign that God has not finished with her.
Her life is now heading in a new direction, with new beginnings and opportunities opening up for her right within her unique skill set. There was a specific need for her skills in the church, and God knew they needed her. What she, or anyone else, don’t yet know, are the myriads of other ways God is going to use her to bless others along the way.
Do nothing out of favouritism
This is a big one for churches to watch out for. While we all have gifts, we need to remember that they all need to be used to build up the body of Christ.
“I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favouritism.” —1 Timothy 5 verse 21
When this is neglected, churches face a threat of division and perhaps even losing people. When God’s people are not able to use their talents, the outcome is frustration. When all gifts are valued, we see a church (the body) that flourishes. What a wonderful thing it is to see people’s talents being used! Why waste any?
Skills from God bring a wonderful full flavour to the church with lots of surprises. For as it is God who gives us these gifts, the talents are coming directly from Him. When God’s people are obedient in using their gifts to bless others, we get a glimpse into seeing and hearing God’s voice spoken through his people in whatever way he has chosen to express himself. Whether it be through catering, caring, praying, singing, ministering to children—whatever the gift, it is born through Christ to edify others, and if we don’t make use of it, someone else is missing out on the Father’s love in this way.
The body of Christ is a beautiful thing, and not one of us are useless. It doesn’t matter how old we get, if we are still on this earth, we haven’t finished what God has purposed for us. As we take time to get to know each other and God’s expression through each other, may we love like we have been loved, and bless as we have been blessed until the day we “change our address” and move “into the presence of God.”
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” —Philippians chapter 1 verses 3-6
Rebecca and her husband, have four children and live on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Rebecca writes for various publications including print, online and commercial. She has recently published her first book titled ‘First to Forty’ which is available on Amazon and Kindle. For more information: http://www.rebeccamoore.life
Rebecca Moore's previous articles may be viewed at
Rebecca and her husband have four children and live on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Rebecca writes for various publications including print, online and commercial. She is the author of two books: ‘First to Forty’ and ‘Pizza and Choir’. For more information you can find Rebecca at: http://www.rebeccamoore.life, Facebook: Rebecca Moore - Author, Instagram: rebeccamoore_author
Rebecca Moore's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/rebecca-moore.html