Finishing The Race Well:  To The Retired & Elderly Man (Raising The Standard) 

We’ve spent the last 3 weeks looking at the need for men to raise the standard.  From the years growing up at home, to college, to marriage/family and career, there are phases of a man’s life that need proper care and attention.  The attention we give to put Christ first in our hearts must begin as early as possible.  The foundation must be secure and the roots must run deep.  A man will face many trials in his life but to have his belief in God and his trust in Jesus unshakable, he can be used for many great things. 

This last segment of men is really a broad category as well.  I know a man retires maybe at 65 or 70…or maybe not at all.  But at the end of his work and employment days, he should not feel as if his usefulness and contributions are somehow diminished.  Quite the opposite.  The older I get, the more I find and come to respect the wisdom and direction I get from the generation above me.  Being able to listen to men like my father and father-in-law and see life through their eyes has given me so much more perspective. 

I sense as a society, we have forgotten just how much the older population has to say.  Put aside technology and advancements.  Put aside whatever the latest, greatest craze is.  Our forefathers have more “inside information” about life than what our iPhone screens can tell us.  They have much to share if we listen.  And as an audience today, I want to address older men, those retired and in advanced years:  I crave and desire any knowledge you have to pass along.  I need it.  Our society needs it and is desperate for it. 

1. Share what you’ve learned:  successes, mistakes and all 

For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. Proverbs 24:16 

What I’ve touched on previously is the fact that as men, we don’t always want to take advice or admit when we are wrong.  But there are so many more lessons that come out of the times when we fail and decide to get back up again.   “Our best successes often come after our greatest disappointments.”  (Henry Ward Beecher)  A man who is older, who has been down the path a time or two, knows a lot more than the rest of us who have not been there yet.  The years of life experience of a 70 or 80 year old man are invaluable to a man like myself, looking not necessarily to reinvent the wheel but find a way that’s already been successful.  Parenting, career decisions, marital issues…you name it.  We need godly Christian men to share their journey. 
I’m already approaching life differently as a 40 year old than when I was 20 or 30.  Certain things in life just don’t hold as much value or luster as they once did.  But I’m finding other things:  family, leaving a legacy of faith, and so on, are the things that really matter.  Speaking on behalf of men my age and younger, I would relish knowing as a man ages, how does this continue to transition?  What things become less and less important and what things do you focus on more as you get to the second half or even last quarter of life?  Knowing these things help us keep focus with an eternal mindset.  Share what you’ve learned. 

2. Now is not the time to hang it up 

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 

Repurposing our lives as we age and retire is something we don’t always plan ahead for.  But when a man gets to this stage, he may feel a bit adrift and looking for significance.  “Newly retired men face some typical difficulties. One is creating a new routine after leaving behind the nine-to-five grind.” (From article “Retirement blues: Taking it too easy can be hard on you”). A man looking for meaning in his life may find the retirement and end of life years as not as exciting as he’d thought they would be.  But older men are still needed in every aspect of life:  from home to church to workplace and marketplace and beyond. 
Now is not the time to hang things up and sit on the sidelines.  We need older men in our churches.  We need them in various ministries actively serving and leading.  We need them teaching Bible studies and mentoring younger men.  We need older men still using their time to consult and give advice—whether in the business world or in ministry or elsewhere.  My point in all of this is to say, don’t stop pouring out and investing into others simply because you reach a certain age.  You have value, you have worth, and your gifts, talents, and abilities are still needed.  And you can always get in a few rounds of golf too! 

3. Seeing you finish well inspires others to want to do the same 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 

Over the last few years, several giants of the faith have passed on.  Great men with platforms like Billy Graham have died and we celebrate the lives they lived for Jesus Christ.  We know that they finished their race and have gained their inheritance.  Even in our personal lives, we have men (and women) who we’ve watched either in our family or church that are now nearing the end of their journey.  What inspires me is that these “heroes” have kept the faith up until the very end and it is a testimony of what God means to them. 
Older men: you do not have to have lived a perfect life.  Only Jesus can claim that.  But live in such a way that you point us to Christ and inspire us to want to follow Jesus more.  A man coming to the end of his life may have some regrets, but if he has followed the Lord, he ultimately knows where he will spend eternity.  And he has no regrets about that decision nor passing it on to his family.  Many in my generation and younger do not have a clue what that looks like or even if heaven/hell, the afterlife, and salvation itself are really real.  But seeing a man finish well with the full confidence of where he’s headed…that is the testimony that will shake a soul to its very core. 

There is a quote from Billy Graham that I think is a fitting end to this series:  “Each of us is given the exact same amount of seconds, minutes and hours per day as anyone else. The difference is how we redeem [them]. … You cannot count your days, but you can make your days count.”  Whether we focus on the younger, middle, or ending years, the need to always make the most of each day remains true.  We have this short life and whether it’s 100 years (like the song) or far less, we have opportunities to raise a standard that speaks of life and truth.  A standard nothing else in this world offers. 
As I’ve considered 2020 and areas to focus on, it has been a concern of mine to address men who read this blog and interact on social media, email, etc.  You see, most of my followers are women and honestly, that is fine.  And for whatever reason, perhaps men are just not as engaged and tuned into some of these platforms.  But my heart has been to seek out men with the thought that, as leaders in the home, church, job, and otherwise, we need to be men of spiritual depth and character.  It starts young and it continues throughout all of our years.  I hope this series has offered some wind in your sails and the encouragement to keep going deeper in your walk.  I love you guys and would love to hear from you.  Be blessed and let’s continue to “raise the standard!” 

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Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:15-17

Other blogs in this series:

Raising The Standard: Becoming Men After God's Own Heart (Intro)

Choosing The Right Path: To The Young & Single Man

Putting Christ On Display: To The Career & Family Man

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