Many years ago, I greatly enjoyed reading Billy Graham’s autobiography, Just As I Am. Written in 1997, he makes the statement “I know that my life will soon be over. I thank God for it, and for all he has given me in this life” (p729).
So, it has come as somewhat of a surprise to Graham, who was convinced he would die sooner worn out from service of God, that he still lives. Aged 93 (when published in 2011), he says:
I never thought I would live to be this old.
All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how to live in the years before I die. I wish they had because I am an old man now, and believe me, it’s not easy. (vii)
Thankfully for the rest of us, he has not sat around pondering such thoughts on his own, but gathered them all together in this excellent book dealing with growing older and how to tackle our ‘senior years’.
Solidly based in the gospel, Graham takes every opportunity throughout this book to clearly explain what Christ has done and how we trust in his grace through faith.
As he walks us through thinking about retirement, planning for the future practically (wills, etc), how to proactively be involved with grandchildren, how to make sure our foundation is Christ is secure and how we look forward to heaven, he gives practical advice and biblical encouragement along the way.
Here are some of his thoughts along the way:
Just because we are retired does not mean our work is done. Retirement provides us the opportunity to spend more time doing God’s work, serving others in the name of the Lord. (p41)
See your retirement as a gift from God. Retirement isn’t something that just happens if you live long enough, and it isn’t even a reward for your years of hard work; it is a gift from God. Once you understand this, you will approach your retirement differently.’ (p44)
The things we value during the prime of life will follow us into the twilight years. If we wisely value faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, it will strengthen us as we age. (p53)
God’s will is for you to become spiritually mature, growing stronger in your relationship to Christ and your service for Him. But this takes both time and effort. Conversion is the work of an instant; spiritual maturity is the work of a lifetime. (p149)
The final chapter reminds us what we look forward to as we near home: heaven. Heaven is glorious, perfect, joyous, active and certain: “you have reason to look forward to the glories of Heaven, for you will be perfected, you will be joyful, you will once again be active, and right now you can be certain that you are nearing home. (p180)
A great book for those approaching retirement or facing old age, and for any of us who want to understand it better.