So much of our world revolves around self. Have you noticed? Commercials on television and social media tell us constantly that we deserve to have the best, the latest new gadget, the newest version of something, or the most up-to-date style. In our daily lives, we throw away more good things than probably any other era of time. I get teased for keeping takeaway plastic food containers from restaurants, wash them and reuse them. One of my favorite fast-food restaurants uses these really neat plastic containers and on the bottom of the dish, it says they can be reused and are also microwave safe. I love that! Finally, someone gets smart. I use their food containers for all sorts of things, cookies we have baked and take to someone as a gift, storage of sliced fruit in the fridge, Christmas fudge, and left-overs. I just wish all restaurants would do the same, then, perhaps our landfills would not be so full. But I digress! What I really want to talk about is what we are chasing in life, what goals are we pursuing and what are we trying to achieve? Some people say that they are doing all that they can to just survive and so they don’t have any goals except to survive. Yes, there are times I think that we all have felt that way. Perhaps I am old, but I see only two options that we are chasing….either we chase after God or we chase after the world that doesn’t know God.
Recently on social media a friend showed a photo of a woman that is only four years younger than my friend and asked why this woman looked beautiful and my friend didn’t? She asked what makes the difference. I have looked at celebrities and thought the same thing. What makes the difference is easy to spot, the celebrities have a team of people behind their great looks, personal trainers to help motivate them to exercise, chefs who cook healthy and delicious meals, beauticians who take good care of their hair, make-up artists who can paint on a face that looks ten or twenty years younger, spas that do skin treatments to keep the skin looking young, nail technicians that do manicures and pedicures that make nails look good. If my friend and I had that kind of a team behind us we would look great too! It takes all of these people to make one person look good for the camera! What the world won’t do to make women who are aging feel less-than is truly amazing. I think that is why so many men and women chase after youthful looks because the world demands it. How does the world view aging?
For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long. Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together. They say, “God has forsaken him; pursue him and seize him, for no one will rescue him.” Do not be far from me, my God; come quickly, God, to help me. May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace. As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. Psalm 71:5-14, (New International Version or NIV).
These are the sad words of an old king, a man who had been loved by his people, King David. He is old and growing older and nearer to death and his heart is heavy with grief. I think this is the best description of how the world views aging. Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together. Yes, the ones who are conspiring are his children, the younger advisors, and those who should be surrounding him and helping him rule the nation of Israel. Instead, they want to get rid of him and take over the power seat of kingship themselves. The thinking of people of the world is impatient and unkind and uncaring for this old dear king. Isn’t that how the world today feels about old people? Don’t most want the elderly out of sight and into homes for the elderly where they are someone else’s problem? And if I am truthful here, there are many elderly people who don’t want to be bothered by the young families either. Children don’t want to take care of their old parents and old parents don’t want to be taken care of by their children either. Homes for the aged have become normal in our society. I think that this is sad. As an aging person, I am like David in that I also lean upon God to take care of me because God can be trusted in old age just as when I was younger. God reminds the people of Israel that false gods (the world) can do nothing for them and maybe we need this warning today also.
Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary. They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity. “Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. “With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared? Some pour out gold from their bags and weigh out silver on the scales; they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god, and they bow down and worship it. They lift it to their shoulders and carry it; they set it up in its place, and there it stands. From that spot it cannot move. Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer; it cannot save them from their troubles. “Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do. Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are now far from my righteousness. I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel. Isaiah 46, (NIV).
The false gods of Babylon were no match for the one true God of Israel. And yet the nation of Israel continuously returned to follow after the false gods. Yet God kept His promise: I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel. Jesus came to earth and brought salvation not only to Israel but to you and me, we have salvation if we obey the teachings of Jesus because they point us to God and worshiping the one true God! Chase after God and not the world who can only offer us self-centeredness and eventually hell for all eternity. I want everyone to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior because that is the path to eternity in heaven with God. Won’t that be grand!
Until next time…Katherine