At every age of life, we can produce fruit that replenishes others
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: My mother lived a busy and productive life until my father died. We are missionaries abroad and she is left alone now with discouragement, feeling like she has no purpose in life. She has often been asked to teach a Sunday school class for widows and lead a Bible study for young mothers; yet she refuses believing that she has nothing more to offer. How does one challenge her to not give up just because she is old? — D.C.
Dear D.C.: How wonderful it is when adult children see the value in encouraging their aged parents to continue to be productive individuals. The late Dr. W. Stanley Jones, who served the Lord as a missionary in India, wrote: “In old age… blossom at the end like a night-blooming cereus.” This is a plant from the family of flowering cacti. It brings beauty to the desert when it opens up at nightfall. Some say these plants produce fruit large enough for people to consume.
Dr. Jones certainly knew something about blossoming and producing fruit. He made a profound impact on all those around him because of his extraordinary faith and service to others. Later in life his work was acknowledged by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi. In spite of a stroke at age 87 that disabled him and impaired his speech, he addressed a world congress in Jerusalem from his wheelchair shortly before he died.
At every age of life, we can produce fruit that replenishes others. No matter the age, no one need miss the change to impact the younger generations by exemplifying reliance on Him and hope in His unchanging promises.
The Bible is our best source for encouragement: “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)