1 Kings 9:1-2 NIV
1 When Solomon had finished building the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had achieved all he had desired to do, 2 the Lord appeared to him a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon.
God was about to give Solomon a new purpose in life. The Lord was revealing to the king something that would define the second half of his reign and would carry him right through old age if he were obedient to God.
A close friend of mine is almost 50 years old! In the coarse of conversation we discussed what it means to turn 50. I turned the magical age almost two years ago. To me, something was different about crossing this threshold. The number 50 has me viewing things in another way. I can remember at 20 years of age thinking how old and far away 50 seemed. The age of 49 was the same as 32.
But 50 years old is over half a life span. Somehow it finally clicked that most likely I had seen more sunrises than those that are in my future. Anything I had made of my life has been set. How will I spend the next 25-30 years living my days? I didn’t ask these questions at 20-30, even 40 years of age. I was consciously still young and had enough time to accomplish anything I wanted. I had over half my life ahead of me.
However, in my thinking, jumping over the 50 years marker was a revelation. Phase One of life had somehow ended overnight and now what was I going to do in Phase Two? I suspect that is why some older folks my age never seem to grow up. The desire to stay forever young translates into reckless behaviors that the body physically can no longer endure. Not that everything is shutting down in my body; or I see some white light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. I just notice I hurt a little more after doing physical things – ok, a lot more. The first part of my legacy has been written. What will the second part be like? What will I leave for my children and grandchildren to remember? And so I’ve closed some written chapters and opened some new ones for writing.
All I can say about this new stage (especially since I’m fairly young at it) is that God gives a new passion in life to serve Him. I can’t do the things I used to, but there is a whole new list of opportunities that I can build on; and that upon what was accomplished in Phase One. So, with reckless abandonment I want to achieve the new desires God has given me. The funny thing is, most of those desires are now somewhat depended upon others to help carry the weight, people I love!
Fortunately I have a Savior who says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message Bible) Solid advise for every 50+ man or woman.
J. Robert Hanson