As I was getting ready this morning for a weekend of reaching youth with the Gospel and the call of full time ministry I was struck by the thought of “getting older.”
I was first called to preach the Gospel in a nursing home at 18 years old and I have always had a powerful relationship with the elderly. I can remember being at the feet of my aged great aunt pleading with tears as a young man with her to accept Jesus. However, she simply patted the top of my head and said, “Joey, I’m okay… Joey, I’m okay.” I remember when I heard of her passing and I wondered, did Aunty Marry make it to heaven- did she accept Jesus?
Currently, I no longer have any living Grandparents, I have watched all four of them pass away into eternity. My last Grandma had Alzheimer and could not even remember me. I cried so hard when I saw her and was deeply hurt to see her mind broken by the disease. Also, I remember being by the death bed of two of my Grandparents, just days before they passed. They were pale, breathing by machines, and the room smelled of death.
Thus, as I was thinking this morning I began to say to myself, “I only have one life to live, I have to give it all to Jesus!” Then as a minister I began to say, “I have to keep fighting for the youth of this nation, because one day I will not be able to fight anymore!” I do not want to waste my life!
Should the Lord tarry and I live to be old like my Grandparents, who all lived past their 80’s, I will find a time when the following is true:
I will not be able to do outreaches,
…not be able to take mission trips,
…not be able to preach,
…not be able to work all day,
…not be able to make big plans for the future,
…not be able to teach in Bible college,
…not be able to make disciples,
and not be able to see dreams come true.
George Bernard Shaw said it best, “Youth is wasted on the young.” This quote reminds me of how much of my life I wasted until I found my God given purpose. Thus, I would plead, beg, and even command all those who still have youth… “Do not waste your life, for a time will come when you may wish to do the things you can do now, but it will be too late!”
Your high school/college friends will be gone. Your neighbors, coworkers, teachers, pastors, leaders, and backyard bbq acquaintances will have passed all away. Your birthday, graduate, career, and anniversary parties will be filled with the young for your peers are gone. Your gossip crew, party friends, and business partners will leave you.
Your popularity will count for nothing, your wealth will do you no good, your ability to brag and put others down will not be heard, your beauty will be vanished, all your grand ideas of how to do things “better” will not be heard, and all your “future plans” will be past. Death will be your only next and greatest event. And as you read this now and wonder how you will cope with death, like most elderly people, your only prayer will be, “Jesus, just take me home now. I cannot go on like this anymore.”*
Therefore, live for God in the days of your youth. Use your strength for God! If you fall down, get back up… never quit! Give all you have to Jesus! Go on mission trips, invite all your friends to outreaches, preach with passion, pray with power, and never loose your zeal!
Youth, young people, and all those who still have strength to serve God- give Jesus your all!
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them.”
* As a pastor I have had to pray for many aged and dying who asked Jesus to “take them home,” for they felt their time on earth was over.