This past Sunday we began a new series, “More Than a Number: A Study on Aging Intentionally.” Here is a poignant, convicting analogy that we referred to in the conclusion of that first study of aging with more soberness:
“Every day, we are all building the house we will live in when old age comes. Some of us are building a beautiful palace. Some are building a dark prison. What are you building?
Perhaps you are building a house that will prove beautiful and comfortable through the long winter of your old age. You are decorating it tastefully, filling it with ornaments designed to bring pleasure and comfort in the days to come—deeds of gratitude and grace, acts of generosity and selfless love. On every wall, you are hanging pictures that are as meaningful as they are beautiful—warm friendships in Christ, mentoring and discipling relationships, children and grandchildren who know and love the Lord. These pictures look down upon you to comfort, to cheer, to encourage. You have stockpiled supplies of godliness and grace to ensure you will be full and fed, faithful in the days of weariness. You have gathered great stores of God’s Word to fuel the fire, to keep it blazing brightly through the long winter days and nights. You have prepared a comfortable bed where you can lie and rest. As you draw your last breaths, you will be able to look from your bed to see those ornaments, those paintings, that lifetime of precious treasure, and you will know: you have lived a meaningful life.
Or perhaps you are building a house that will prove little more than a cold, gloomy prison through the long winter of your old age. You are decorating it with ugliness…meaningless achievements, evil deeds, self-righteous works. You are covering the walls with grotesque pictures—harmful friendships, broken relationships, children and grandchildren who are wanton and rebellious. They look down upon you to haunt you, to condemn you, to fill you with fear and sorrow. You have stocked sparse supplies to feed upon in the days of weariness, leaving you to chew on bitterness, regret, and a thousand empty vices. You have gathered little of God’s Word to fuel the fire, so it will burn low and extinguish, leaving you cold and miserable. You have prepared a bed of thorns where you will lie and desperately try to rest. As you draw your last breaths, you will look from your painful bed to see those awful ornaments, those dark paintings, that lifetime of piled regret, and you will know: you have wasted your life.
Which house are you building? Are you building a palace or a prison? Are you building a place of joy, comfort, and security, or a place of grief, sorrow, and peril? Every moment you are laying the bricks to your home. From childhood you have been decorating it. With each passing day you add new ornaments and you stock—or don’t stock—it for days to come. And as the winter of your life approaches, you will take up residence in the house you have built.“
Solomon, the preacher, concludes in Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.”
Would you join me in aging with a more constructive, intentional manner? Don’t wait. Don’t ignore. Start today in glorifying God by “getting your house in order.”
Here is the full sermon preached at North Life Baptist Church.
Challies, Tim. Aging Gracefully (Cruciform Quick) . Challies. Kindle Edition.