Good Things to Do When You’re Older

Old man by the water

In a previous article, we discussed some good things to do when one is young. We focused on what young people are to do in order to enjoy life while also pleasing the Lord.

What if we are not young anymore? What responsibilities do we have when we are older?

This is not just about what we are to do when we are “old” (however we want to define that) or at the end of our lives (though it would certainly include that). This is a wide age range, from around 30 years old and up – old enough to influence young adults until death. What does the Bible say about what is good to do when we are older? We will notice six things.

Be a Good Example

Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good” (Titus 2:2-3).

In the previous chapter, Paul gave Titus the qualifications for elders in the local church (Titus 1:6-9). As is evident from the qualifications, not everyone can serve as an elder. Even if one is of the highest moral character, if that person is not a man, the husband of one wife, and has children who believe, that person cannot serve as an elder. However, everyone can be a positive example through their character and their actions.

Older men are to set an example by being “temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance” (Titus 2:2). Older women can set an example through their reverent behavior and by abstaining from gossip and wine (Titus 2:3).

Teach the Younger Generation(s)

So that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored” (Titus 2:4-5).

Being a good example is the right start, but there is more that one can do – including teaching those who are younger. We can start by teaching our children. Father are instructed to “not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Timothy was taught by his mother and grandmother to know the word of God (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). The book of Proverbs is filled with the wise man instructing his son (Proverbs 1:8). Though we may not think of this as the older teaching the younger, this is the very nature of parenting.

While it is important for parents to teach their children, that is not all the teaching that an older generation might be imparting to a younger generation. Paul told Timothy, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). He was to teach those who would be coming along after him so that they could then teach those who would come after them – ones that Timothy might not ever know. The wise man wrote, “The glory of young men is their strength, and the honor of old men is their gray hair” (Proverbs 20:29). His point was that with age comes experience and wisdom. These are useful to others; therefore, we ought to pass along what we have learned.

Remind Others of the Truth

Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind” (2 Peter 1:12-15).

Peter wrote this as he was about to “depart” from this life – not from old age, but from persecution (cf. John 21:18-19). Since he was not going to be around forever, he needed to remind them of the “present truth” (KJV).

Humans are forgetful. God knew this, so in His word He stressed the importance of regular reminders. The Lord’s Supper is a weekly reminder of the death of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Timothy would be a faithful minister if he reminded the brethren of the things that were being revealed by the Spirit (1 Timothy 4:6). Without reminders, it is easy to “drift away” from the word of God (Hebrews 2:1). Knowing that we will one day depart from this life and others will be left to carry on without us, it is important for us to remind them of the truth.

Forgive Others

At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them” (2 Timothy 4:16).

Paul wrote this when he was near death (2 Timothy 4:6). Like Peter, this was due to persecution. Therefore, we might think that he had a “good” reason to be resentful of others – especially his brethren who did not support him. Instead, he was willing to forgive.

Throughout our lives, people will do things that will cause us to be upset, angry, disappointed, hurt, etc. We need to be willing to forgive. Paul wrote, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). In fact, in that same context, Paul said we are not even to “let the sun go down on [our] anger” (Ephesians 4:26). Certainly, we must not carry it with us throughout life. Therefore, we must be willing to forgive others.

Have Confidence in God’s Promises

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His eternal kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:18).

Because Paul had faithfully served the Lord, he could confidently look forward to the “crown of righteousness.” He was convinced that the Lord would bring him “safely to His heavenly kingdom.

We should be able to look forward to the Lord’s return (or our own death) with the same confidence. John wrote, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (1 John 2:28). John explained that we can have this confidence if we are practicing righteousness (1 John 2:29). This hope is not the false hope of those who thought they would be delivered in the day of judgment even though they were not being faithful to God (cf. Amos 5:18-20; Matthew 7:21-23). The hope of salvation is for “all those who obey” the Lord (Hebrews 5:9).

Be Faithful Until Death

Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if He shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to be preserving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:35-39).

As we are to have confidence in God’s promises, we must not “throw away [our] confidence.” Instead, we must endure until the end. The Christians in Smyrna were told, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

As the Hebrew writer explained in this passage, it is possible for a Christian to turn back from God and be lost (Hebrews 10:38-39). This is why Paul himself wrote, “But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). If we serve the Lord throughout our lives, but turn back from Him in the end, we will be lost: “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die” (Ezekiel 18:24). No matter what happens between now and the end of our lives, we must remain faithful to Him.

Conclusion

With age comes wisdom and experience. As we get older, we need to use these properly – to serve God faithfully, teach others, and look forward to the reward of heaven.


When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on Blessings, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Social Issues.


Comments

  1. Wayne Teel says

    A very good reminder, Andy, for all of us as we grow older. Parents and Grandparents can teach their children some valuable lessons and pass on to their posterity how to live and conduct their lives in ways that are pleasing to God. What better use of our old age than to instill in our children the need to “fear God and keep His commandments.”