When's your birthday? Like it or not, everybody has one per year. The good news about a birthday is this, the very fact that you have one means that you're still around! And as long as you're still around, God has a purpose for your life.
Getting older is actually a good thing. The Bible describes grey hair as “a crown of glory!” (Proverbs 16:31) In a culture that worships youthfulness, it's good to remember that older folks are to be properly honored. And if they have lived their lives wisely and humbly, they have something significant to offer the next generation.
Notice the “IF” in the last sentence. This conditional statement is a key to a successful life. Don't just get older, make sure you're getting wiser and humbler.
Time alone doesn't do this to you. As it's been said, in life you can have 50 years of experience or 1 year of experience 50 times. I have met both kinds of folks. Some people are as foolish and prideful at 80 as they were at 20 or 30. Living long doesn't guarantee wisdom or humility. It simply provides opportunity for these qualities to develop. The acquisition of them is up to us.
Moses was shaped into a usable vessel for God by responding the right way to time. At 80, he was finally wise enough and humble enough for God to use him. At the age of 80, God appeared to Moses at the burning bush and called him to go back to Egypt and lead His people out of their bondage.
When God tapped Moses for this task, he was reluctant to accept God's call. Why? Because he realized his own weaknesses, his inadequacies, and his personal inabilities. At 40 he had been a very ambitious, arrogant young man who was foolishly sure of himself. He thought God's people would soon recognize him as their mighty deliverer. After killing an Egyptian who was abusing one of the Hebrew slaves, he believed it was just a matter of time before his prominence as a leader rose. He was certain that he would soon be admired and followed as Israel's young emancipator. But this didn't happen. He ended up fleeing Egypt to save his own life from the wrath of Pharaoh. For the next 40 years Moses lived in the wilderness taking care of livestock. Quite a turn of events.
But the second 40 years of Moses' life were extremely important years. During these years he gained greater wisdom and deeper humility. Over these 4 decades in the desert Moses was broken, in a good way. He was made into a man God could use.
He was a very different man at 80 than he was at 40. At 40, he had been a high-strung, self-centered, ambitious, passionate “wannabe” deliverer; albeit an unwise and undisciplined one. At 80, his soul was sober and mature. He was no longer driven by ambition for success or by the need to make a name for himself. Time, trouble and daily responsibility had seasoned him. He was older, but wiser and humbler. He was also usable to God. 40 years in the wilderness hadn't hurt him. It had helped him!
What about you? No matter what your age, each year you're getting older. Getting older is inevitable. Getting wiser and humbler is optional. Don't just get older, make sure you're getting wiser and humbler!