Does Old Age Lend One to Compromise?

This past Sunday, we looked at 1 Kings 11 and the compromise of King Solomon, who through treaties and other longings of the flesh, married 700 wives and also had 300 concubines.  The issue came about “when Solomon was old” (1 Kings 11:4). 

Sam Tullock provides supplemental notes to the LifeWay Explore! Adult Sunday School materials through Founders Ministries that are very helpful!  Below, I give an excerpt to last week’s notes which relay a conversation he had several years ago with his then mentor, the late Ernest Reisinger, which is followed up by his own insights now that he is a senior adult.  Very insightful!  I’d appreciate your thoughts on the matter.

During my early years in the ministry, I had the opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time conversing with Pastor Ernest Reisinger. Among the many bits of wisdom I received from Ernie, I most remember his concerns about growing old. Though my senor by thirty-six years, I marveled at his ability to communicate with an inexperienced, immature, youthful pastor. On more than one occasion I heard Ernie pray that he would not live, in his senior years, in a manner that would undo the work of his youth. My mentor was right about the unique temptations of later life. Many years have passed, and, no doubt, I stand nearer the end of my journey than the beginning. Ernie’s prayers and Solomon’s example provide ample warning for those of us who no longer relish the promise of youth. I note several dynamics at play as I grow older.

Inertia: Older saints often do not possess the energy that once characterized their service to Christ. The natural processes of aging, coupled with some health problems, may contribute to spiritual lethargy. How easy to leave the Lord’s work to those who are young and energetic.

Disillusionment: The accumulated disappointments of life may rob older saints a sense of hope and usefulness in God’s kingdom. Seniors have lived long enough to have seen the dark side of church life. Human failings, among God’s people, may break the spirit of older Christians, and they may become disheartened. Furthermore, I wonder if other Christians, as they age, see the world differently than in younger years. In my youthful enthusiasm, I saw the world in very “black and white” terms, but, as I grow older, the “gray areas” seem more prominent. This trend, as I observe it, may cause the older saint to doubt the certainties that characterized younger years.

Pride: High-achieving persons may waste their senior years with unseemly smugness. Solomon may have fallen into this trap. His impressive achievements may have contributed to a failure in watchfulness over the condition of his soul. Moreover, his great wealth seems to have promoted a sense of pride, and, perhaps, he did not rest in the Lord as his portion and inheritance. Affluence carries a dangerous price tag.

“Youthful” passions: Clearly, Solomon’s sexual desires remained high—he surrounded himself with a teeming harem of beautiful women. Many men succumb to the passions of youth, when they reach their senior years.

 

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