Old Age Sermon Illustrations

Old Age Sermon Illustrations

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Some four hundred names of the most noted men in all times, from all lines of activity, were chosen. There were statesmen, painters, warriors, poets, and writers of fiction history, and other prose works. Opposite to the name of each man was indicated, his greatest work or achievement. This list was then submitted to critics, to learn their opinion of the greatest work of each man submitted. The names of their greatest works were accepted, or altered, until the list was one that could be finally accepted. After this was done the date at which the work was produced was placed after the name, and so the age was ascertained at which the individual was at his best. The list was then arranged according to decades.

It was found that the decade of years between sixty and seventy contained thirty-five per cent of the world's greatest achievements. Between the ages of seventy and eighty, twenty-three per cent of the achievements fell; and in the years after the eightieth, six per cent.

In other words, sixty-four per cent of the great things of the world have been accomplished by men who had passed their sixtieth year, the greatest percentage, thirty-five, being in the seventh decade.

The figures for the other periods of life are interesting. Between the fiftieth and sixtieth years are found twenty-five per cent, between forty and fifty ten per cent. These, all totaled together, leave the almost negligible quantity of one per cent to be attributed to the period below the age of forty.

Two great classes of work fall below the forty year limit. These are the deeds which require the extreme of physical power and vim, as the conquests of Alexander the Great; and the beautiful expression of the lyric poetry, which is typified by the nervous, supersensitive temperament of such men as Shelley and Keats.—Martin Sherwood

(Ps. 92. 14)

They call it going down the hill when we are growing old,
And speak with mournful accents, when our tale is nearly told:
They sigh when talking of the past, the days that used to be,
As if the future were not bright with immortality.
But oh! it is not 'going down'; 'tis coming higher, higher,
Until we almost see the Home our longing hearts desire;
For when the natural eye grows dim, it is but dim to earth,
While the eye of faith grows keener to see the Saviour's worth.
Those bygone days, the days of joy, we wish not back again;
For—were there not so many days of sorrow and of pain?
But in the days awaiting us, the days beyond the tomb,
Sorrow shall never find a place, but joy eternal bloom.
For though in truth the outward man must perish and decay,
The inward man is still renewed by grace from day to day.
They who are planted by the Lord, unshaken in the root,
E'en to old age shall flourish still, and even bring forth fruit.
It is not years that make men old; the spirit may be young,
Though for the threescore years and ten the wheels of life have run.
God has Himself recorded in His blessed Word of truth
That 'they who wait upon the Lord' shall still renew their youth.
Yes, when the eyes now dimmed with years behold with joy the King,
And ears now dull with age shall hear the harps of Heaven ring,
And on the head now hoary shall be placed the crown of gold,
Then shall we know the lasting bliss of never growing old.—J.G.D.

(Ps. 92. 14; 2 Cor. 4. 16)

Fruitful at 132

In Jerseyville, Illinois, there is the oldest fruit tree in Jersey County —a 132-year-old pear tree. It is bearing fruit again this year. The famous tree was brought here from New Jersey by Dr. Ralph Van Pelt in 1830 by covered wagon. The tree has attracted wide attention. Several years ago the Department of Agriculture and several state departments of agriculture cut scions from it for propagation.

Knowledge of that tree ought to encourage old people to believe that, no matter how heavy the weight of years, they can bear fruit and make what Jesus said a reality in their lives: "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples" (John 15:8).

Old people can remain young in spirit and remain creatively active all their lives, even as Goethe who completed Faust at eighty; even as Titian who painted masterpieces at ninety-eight; even as Toscanini who conducted at eighty-five; even as Justice Holmes who wrote Supreme Court decisions at ninety; even as Edison who was busy in his laboratory at eighty-four; even as Benjamin Franklin who helped to frame the American Constitution at eighty; even as Adenauer who showed statesmanship and leadership at eighty-four; even as Churchill who was wielding world-wide influence at eighty-five, even as ex-president Herbert Hoover who wrote history at eighty-seven.

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