Sappy and Green

I am fond of several sayings. One of them is this: “Getting old is overrated.” I quoted it again just before writing this post. I talked with my mom after an outpatient surgery she underwent the other day. We both agreed. Getting old is overrated.

At least it is physically. I didn’t have surgery this week, but I feel the effects of aging after turning sixty-one the other day. I won’t bore you with the anatomical details. I take solace in the fact that getting old spiritually is definitely NOT overrated. I say that because of two passages of Scripture, one New Testament and the other Old Testament.

Consider 2 Cor. 4:16 – So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. Wasting away. Couldn’t have said it better about the physical body. But this text is decidedly good news for someone who, by God’s grace, has walked with Jesus for nearly forty-one years now. My inner self, the immaterial side of my being, is being renewed day by day. That means I have come a long way, baby.  I am not the man I was and I am not the man I will be. Thanks be to God. Let the transformation continue.

But the news gets better. Consider Psalm 92:12-15.

12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, 15 to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Living in Florida, I get the imagery. Palm trees endure through absolutely everything. They shoot relentlessly to the sky sprouting their luxurious fronds. Cedars of Lebanon I am not so familiar with. Wish I were. Had to do some research:

These giant, beautiful, evergreen trees grow in mountainous regions, at altitudes of 3,300-6,500 feet (1,000-2,000 m). They can be found in Lebanon, south-central Turkey, and Cyprus. They produce cones which grow on top of the branch. The trees can attain a height of 100 feet (30 m) and the trunk may reach 6 feet (2 m) in diameter. Compared with the trees of Israel, the cedar is indeed a mighty tree, and it is highly praised in Scripture.

When I think about the reality of becoming an increasingly older man, righteous in God’s sight by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to the glory of God alone, I am thrilled to consider this not as something overrated but highly desirable. The promise of God for those planted in the house of the Lord, at home in the courts of the living God, is that such will flourish, grow, and still bear fruit even in old age. The last thing I want to be is some grumpy old codger making everyone miserable in a self-centered, morose, miserable endgame. Full of sap and green. That’s for me. Let me live out my days doing exactly what v. 15 says, declaring that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Sappy and green. Sappier than ever, brighter green every day. Let the aging continue. Definitely not overrated.

Matthew Henry said it well:

In God’s trees the strength of grace does not fail with the strength of nature. The last days of the saints are sometimes their best days, and their last work their best work.
Lord, may my last days be my best days, my last work my best work.
I promise. I’ll give you all the glory.

2 responses

  1. Thanks for the encouraging word! Let me be among the first to say that we are so thankful for your spiritual aging and its effect on your ministry with us. And I think you’re aging gracefully enough physically to continue that spiritual growth for many more years!

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