Fruitful in Old Age
Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.
In Psalm 92, the psalm writer begins by offering thanks for all the ways the Lord has blessed him. Then, in the final verses, he reflects on the situation of godly people (92:12, literally, “the righteous ones”). They “will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like cedars of Lebanon.” Their fruitfulness continues long after others have retired from productivity: “Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green” (92:14).
What accounts for this unusual display of flourishing? Surely, it is, in part, a result of living a godly or righteous life. Those who walk in God’s ways live more meaningful and effective lives. But Psalm 92 adds another reason for the long-lived fruitfulness of these people: “For they are transplanted to the LORD’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God.” In other words, they have been planted so that their roots grow deeply into God. They draw nutrition from a divine source that is never exhausted. Thus, living productively, even into old age, isn’t just a matter of doing the right thing, however important this may be. It is, above all, a result of living in a deep, growing relationship with God.
During my tenure on staff of the H. E. Butt Foundation, at Laity Lodge and now with The High Calling, I have met many people who wonderfully illustrate Psalm 92:14. I think, for example, of people like Betty Anne Cody, Howard Hovde, J. I. Packer, Laity Lodge’s founder, Howard E. Butt, Jr., and his wife, Barbara Dan. These folk continue to be “vital and green,” even if their hair has turned grey. They live with more gusto and impact than most people half their ages. For them, and so many more like them, the key to their fruitfulness is their deep relationship with the Lord. They are, indeed, planted in God. Their example encourages me to keep the Lord at the center of my life, allowing him to be my daily source of nourishment and guidance.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you known people who still produce fruit, even in old age? What characterizes their lives? How have they inspired you? Are you planted in the courts of God? Where do you derive your nutrition for living?
PRAYER: O Lord, as I think about my life, and as I see the hairs on my head turning white (the ones that are left, that is), I realize how much I want to be like the godly people in Psalm 92. I want to be fruitful, even in old age. I want my life to count over the long haul.
Help me, gracious God, to be a godly person, to live according to your standards, to follow your guidance, and to place you at the center of my life. May I be like a tree planted in your courts, drawing nutrition for life from you.
Thank you, Lord, for those who exemplify such godly living, even in old age. Continue to use and bless them, so that we might draw inspiration and wisdom from them.
All praise be to you, O God, because you enable us to be fruitful throughout our lives. Amen.
The Local Church Equipping Us in Our Vocations
Do you hope to inspire your church to help people glorify God in their daily work? Then our series The Local Church Equipping Us in Our Vocations is for you. If you or someone you know needs encouragement along these lines, join us on The High Calling.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.