By Gary Miller
I spent my last few days of this deer season in Alabama with Jonathon and Hubert (affectionately called Hube). Jonathon brought Hube not only because they are friends but because it was Hube’s 80th birthday and because Hube loves to hunt.
He likes hunting deer and turkey but he is especially keen on bear hunting where he walks the mountains following his pack of dogs. His slender frame is strong and healthy. I ask him how he stayed that way. He replied, “Good livin’ and good eatin’.” Now I didn’t take the “good eatin’” part to infer that he was a health food junkie and neither should you. He just liked good food.
Each morning Hube was quick to rise from his bed inside our camper. He always said he slept well and was always ready to leave before Jonathon and I were ready. I noticed also that while I was wrapping myself in cold gear and the latest weather beating fabric, Hube was buttoning up his flannel shirt, zipping his blue jeans, and covering his ensemble in well-worn camouflage coveralls. Add a toboggan and a pair of gloves and he was ready to sit in 20-some degree temperatures until noon. Along with his gun, he carried his binoculars; not to mention his pocket knife and small channel locks which he carried all the time. At noon he met us for lunch and after about a two hour rest, we all went back to our stand. He did that for three days.
In between our hunts and at night I learned that Hube was a worker in his church. He had helped build the one he attends now. It’s new and different. Its music is contemporary. Its pastor (Jonathon) isn't like other pastors. His style is different. Hube loves it and Jonathon loves Hube – and I do, too.
You see what I have noticed as I have gotten older is that many older Christians have decided to retire from some parts of their Christian life. They are quick to say things like “I paid my dues.” Or “I’m not going to put up with that anymore.” Or “I said I’d never do that again.” Or “Those young people can take my part.”
To be honest this really saddens me because just when we get to the place where we can offer the most, we decide to quit and as a result many younger folks are forced to learn on their own. I could say a lot about this but I think I’ll just put it this way. I want to finish strong. I have given my whole life for the things of God and I want to finish the job. I don’t want to stop giving of my life and of my possessions even though I may be tired or because there still may be some who criticize what I do. The reason God leaves a Christian on earth does not change with age.
So if you are an older follower of Christ, fight every temptation to quit. You are more useful now than you have ever been. And maybe if you refuse to retire, God may keep you around like Hube and might even bless you with the opportunity to celebrate your 80th birthday in a tree stand.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org