All in all, I’m in pretty good shape for a guy my age, thank God. In the middle of my early morning workout I knocked out a set of 55 pushups and had a few more in me. But I’m starting to show some signs of aging. A couple of Sundays ago a lady visited the church and told me she comes down once a year to Hot Springs and always visits our church on Sunday. She told me she has been coming since my first year here back in 1995. And then she said this: “I remember when you used to have red hair.” I guess my hair is s-l-o-w-l-y turning a premature gray. A lady who cut my hair a year or so ago told me it was blond, not gray, and since she’s a professional, I think I should trust her judgment more than this other lady’s. Anyway, I feel my age every now and then, but all in all it’s not so bad.
My concern at this growing old thing is that I don’t lose my mental edge (assuming, of course, that I have ever had a mental edge). There are people out there, you know, who like to take advantage of older folks. I recently heard about a lawyer sitting next to an older man on an airplane. The lawyer thought this guy might be easy-pickings, so he asked the older fellow if he wanted to play a little game. The older man wanted to take a nap so he politely declined. But the lawyer kept pestering him. "Come on, just play. I'll ask you a question and if you can't answer it you give me $5. Then you ask me a question, and if I can't answer it I give you $500." That did pique the senior's interest. So the older guy agreed to play.
The lawyer asked the first question: “What’s the distance between the earth and the moon?” The older man had no idea so he quietly pulled out his wallet and gave the lawyer $5. “Now you ask me a question,” said the lawyer.
The older man asked, “What goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?”
The lawyer liked the challenge, so he starts surfing the web looking for an answer, flashing emails to some of his smartest friends for their input. But nothing. So after an hour he woke the older fellow from his nap and handed him $500. The senior pocketed the money and went back to sleep.
But the lawyer couldn’t stand not knowing the answer. It was driving him nuts. So he woke up the old guy one more time and asked him, “So, what does go up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?” The old guy smiled, reached into his pocket, gave the lawyer $5, and went back to sleep.
I hope I can be that sharp as the years add up in my life, don’t you?
And I hope something else as well. I hope I’ll have the spirit to pray the prayer of the psalmist: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). I don’t want to just add years to my life; I want to learn from them. I want to grow deeper into Jesus, deeper into the well that satisfies a thirst mere years and the things of the world cannot. I want to gain the wisdom to help not only myself but others along the way. I want whatever years I have left to matter for God, for His kingdom, and for others. I don't want to waste my life; I don't want to waste what's left.
And who knows? Even though the double-nickel is a lot of years, in some ways I feel like I’m just getting started.