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Tired, Retired, or Inspired Re-fired?

April 25, 2022

I’m a card-carrying member of the baby boomer generation. I'm starting to notice that I look older and feel older. I take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger. I want to give a shout-out to everyone who can still remember their childhood phone number but can't remember the password they created yesterday. You are my people. And younger people, don't tell me about your childhood problems. I was forced to watch Lawrence Welk when I was younger. I'm old and wise because God protected me when I was young and stupid.  

But what scares me most is the musical groups of my generation performing in concerts. They sing their songs to hordes of aging boomers pining to be seventeen again. Fair enough, but the groups and singers should change the titles of their songs. 

Herman’s Hermits should sing, “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Walker,” and the Bee Gees, “How Can You Mend a Broken Hip?” Ringo Starr should sing, “I Get by With a Little Help from My Depends.” Let’s not forget Marvin Gaye and his song, "I Heard It Through the Grape Nuts." Johnny Nash could sing, "I Can't See Clearly Now," while Leo Sayer should crone, “You Make Me Feel Like Napping.” And of course, Abba should perform "Denture Queen."

Have you heard Paul Simon's "Fifty Ways to Lose Your Liver?" How about Roberta Flack's “The First Time I Ever Forgot Your Face” and the Commodores, “Once, Twice, Three Times to the Bathroom?” Finally, Bobby Darin should sing, “Splish, Splash, I Was Having a Flash.” The price some will pay to feel like seventeen again! Let's face it. We all get heavier as we get older because more information is in our heads. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Charles Wadsworth once said, “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” Someone else said, “The younger we are, the more we want to change the world. The older we are, the more we want to change the young.” A young man described how he wants to die. “I want to die while asleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.”

Generally, there are three ways that people cope with growing older. The first group is the ‘Tired Retired.’ Those who tend toward the first group feel that life has passed them by, and they begin to check out of a productive life. They believe there is no gold in the golden years. They feel like they used to have a handle on life, but they broke it. They can give you tips about how to fall asleep in a living room chair. “Be old and sit in a chair.” Hello?   

The second group tends to believe if they ignore death, death will ignore them. It’s like they are saying. “I intend to live forever. So far, so good.” We’ll see. This group tends to direct their energy to fun and relaxation. This isn't wrong, but I guarantee that others in an earlier stage of life could use the wisdom and experience these people have.  

If you tend to be in the first or second group, remember God has always used older people. I call the third group the Inspired Re-fired. God called Abraham to start a ministry of fathering a nation when he was 75 years old. Another grey hair by the name of Caleb was old but young at heart when he went with Joshua into the promised land. He outlived his generation because he understood God was not done with him yet. Some folks from the older generation are the most excellent prayer warriors, workers, and community volunteers in the world. Some of the most extraordinary things you will do in your life will occur in your later years.

Don’t check out yet. Instead, be an ‘Inspired Re-fired.’ Your family needs you; your community needs you; your church needs you, and society needs you. Besides this, God still has you here on earth. If you’re alive, you still have a purpose. So instead, advance in prayer, service, love, mentoring, and the like to the extent that you are able. I know it’s scary when you start making the same noises your coffee maker does. I know it’s distressing when about half the stuff in your shopping cart says, “For Fast Relief.” 

Please don't buy it. Don’t check out. You are an asset, not a liability. There are advantages to being older. Consider what an elderly lady said when being interviewed by reporters. “And what is the best thing about being 104?” they asked. She replied, “No peer pressure.” Wow! Talk about the glass being half full. If you see your glass as half-empty, pour it into a smaller glass, and finish your race. 

Another advantage of being older is being closer to heaven and being young again if you have asked Jesus to be Lord of your life. Jesus' death certificate becomes your birth certificate. Remember, we are not human beings going through a temporary spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings going through a temporary human experience. 

There's a big difference between what we long for, what we settle for, and what we are meant for. A Retirement mindset looks back to the past for fulfillment. An Inspired Re-fired mindset looks to bring greater glory to God, for all of your life. 

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com