The Grace of Age

Of all my birthdays one stands out in a peculiar way—twenty-two. Can you guess why? Until that point, I had looked forward to the spoils that come with age. In childhood, it was things and activities that patiently awaited my impatient self—getting a bicycle, joining a Scout troop, and playing Little League baseball, for instance. Along the way, my age-related desires migrated toward special privileges—the driver’s license at sixteen, voting at eighteen, and, yes, legally imbibing at twenty-one.

Then came twenty-two . . .

And I realized no more age-related opportunities or privileges lay ahead (except maybe social security at sixty-five, which held no appeal at the time). The small, sobering voice of reality crashed my party that year.

Many birthdays have come and gone since twenty-two. The bikes and ball gloves of my youth are mere memories, though I embrace our shared experiences in a nostalgic way, and I still appreciate the privileges of adulthood. Yet far greater than any of these is the special grace of realizing worldly things satisfy but for a moment and our time on earth doesn’t last forever. Reality has a way of getting our attention and redirecting us to what matters and endures. Jesus taught the gathering crowds, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”1 Our hearts follow our treasure, and in the transforming love of God, what we treasure matures into what matters, that which lasts—God himself.

Then how do we store up treasures in heaven? Think for a moment—when do you most sense God’s presence? Isn’t it when you open up to Him in conversation and when you absorb His life-breathing Word? Then also, when do you sense God’s pleasure? Isn’t it when God blesses someone through your obedient acts of kindness and healing words of truth and grace? Loving God and loving people—these are the things that matter, the things that build up lasting treasures that await us when we come of age.

“And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8 NLT).

Father, the older we get, the more our desires reach toward yours. Thank you for this grace. Lead us today into what matters—loving you with all our being and loving people in the ways you call us to do so today. Be our treasure. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Matthew 6:19-21