When we were young, most of us were admonished by our parents to eat our vegetables before the desert. As adults, we are couseled to put business before pleasure. Most of our accomplishments follow this pattern. We put the time, the effort, the expense into a project, and then we reap the rewards and benefits. Those are the rules of the world, we are told. But sometimes life does not follow its own rules.
Sometimes it seems the best parts of life come first. Early on, we have a healthier challenge of youth. We have what seems like endless years to accomplish our wildest dreams. Nothing is beyond the realms of our aspirations. It is as though we are having our desert first in life.
Then the responsibilities begin to press more heavily upon us. At the same time, our physical strengths begin to slacken. Our skin begins to wrinkle, our eyes may dim, and our ears lose their keen hearing. Our goals and dreams slide further and further beyond reach. We become conscious of our ever-present limited mortality. Finally, we begin to acknowledge that some of our dreams of our youth may never be realized. Suddenly, it seems we are older. It is true that in life we have the best first, followed by a gradual decline in accomplishment and fulfillment - a gradual decay and desolation?
At first glance, this would seem to be the case. And surely it would be if all life offered were the passing amusements of youth. Fortunately that is not all that life has to offer, or even the best of it. There are joys and satisfactions that can only be savored by the senior citizens among us: the fulfillment of a job well done, a career honarably completed; the satisfaction of using our experience to help others along their way; the clasp hand of friends we know are true because they have been tested: the deep love that can only come to people who have weathered many storms together.
So if some morning we peer into the mirror at a new wrinkle or say goodbye to an old hairline, we may nurse a moment of nostalgia. This is only natural. But this can be replaced by a deep soul satisfaction that we are learning lessons and building character that can come only come from years of living. These are the deepest joys this world has to offer. As Job said so many centuries ago, "with the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding". (Job 12:12). If we achieve wisdom and understanding from our years on earth, our years will have been well spent, profitable, satisfying, and sweet to us...
Pastor Hans Lillejord