Last fall one day at the church, I spotted a visiting gentleman who was shaking hands with a half-dozen folks he’d never met before. Then he looked at me, and with a grin and a twinkle, he whipped out his hand. It was a hand you could strike a match on, toughened by decades of rugged toil.
"You look like a man who enjoys life. What do you do for a living?" I asked.
"Me? Well, I'm a farmer from back in the Midwest."
"Really? I guess I'm not surprised, since you've got hands like a tractor tire."
He laughed...asked me a couple of insightful questions, then told me about his plans for travelling on his own.
"What did you do last week?" I asked.
His answer stunned me. "Last week I finished harvesting 90,000 bushels of corn," he said with a smile.
I then blurted out, "Ninety thousand! How old are you, my friend?"
He didn't seem at all hesitant or embarrassed by my question. "I'm just a couple months shy o' 90." He laughed again as I shook my head.
He had lived through four wars, the Great Depression, 16 presidents, 90 Midwest winters, who knows how many personal hardships, and he was still taking life by the throat. I had to ask him the secret of his long and productive life. "Hard work and integrity" was his quick reply.
As we parted company, he looked back over his shoulder and added, "Don't take it easy, young feller. Stay at it!"
The Bible is filled with folks who refused to take it easy. Remember our friend Caleb, who, at age 85, attacked the Anakim in the hill country and successfully drove them out (Joshua 14)? Or Abraham, who had a baby (well, actually Sarah did) when he was "in his old age"...he was 100, she was 90 (Genesis 21)? Or Noah or Moses or Samuel or Anna, the 84-year-old prophetess...significant people, all.
Age means zilch. Wrinkles, grey hair, and spots on your hands, less than zilch. If God chooses to leave you on this old earth, great. If He makes it possible for you to step aside from your work and move on to new vistas with fresh challenges, that's also great.
And whatever else you do, don't take it easy!
"No disease is more lethal than the boredom that follows retirement" (Norman Cousins).
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.