07 (July 2013)

Old, but not out!

Old, but not out!
Peter Rowell Peter Rowell ministered for 18 years in Coventry, and then was called to Forest Fold Baptist Chapel in Crowborough, where he served as pastor for 24 years, before his retirement.
30 June, 2013 1 min read

Old but not out!

James Taylor
Day One, 108 pages, £6.00
ISBN: 978-1-84625-306-5

This is a short but encouraging book for Christians who have reached the later part of life. It is especially relevant to those who have reached retirement from a life of Christian service and pastoral leadership.

James Taylor writes from an experience of such a life. His main concern is to urge a sense of purpose, continuing usefulness, and strengthening faith for those facing the realities of the inevitable weakening of body and mind which comes with the passing of years.

The book begins with short chapters commenting helpfully on the lives of Abraham and Sarah, Caleb, Naomi and Ruth. Then follows a sad chapter on the life of Eli, with serious warnings about growing tolerant of sins in those who are younger. The author says, ‘Lack of action is not an option in the older generation’.

There follow comments on Psalm 71 as a psalm expressing many of the feelings and concerns of old age. ‘The spirituality of old age has a backwards look to it that detects and rejoices in God’s faithfulness over the years’ — a comment that reminded this writer of John Newton’s words, ‘He who has helped me hitherto, will help me all my journey through’.

Psalm 131 is used as an encouragement to contentment in old age. James Taylor has evidently experienced many of the deeply disturbing changes that can take place in modern attitudes and practices in worship (p.71), but Eli’s lesson should also be remembered.

From the responses of Simeon and Anna to the infant Saviour, we are encouraged to believe that a godly old age will produce a deepening spiritual discernment. Then follows a chapter emphasising the glorious prospect for the believer as he or she faces dying.

‘To be with Christ which is far better’ is in stark contrast to the awesome end of those ‘having no hope and without God in the world’. The book ends with a helpful summary of its message and with Bible verses to encourage hope and faith.

Peter Rowell
Crowborough

Peter Rowell ministered for 18 years in Coventry, and then was called to Forest Fold Baptist Chapel in Crowborough, where he served as pastor for 24 years, before his retirement.
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