Throughout the Bible we see examples of people from all over the age spectrum being used by God for good. Pre-flood people lived far longer than they do now. Regardless, Noah still was not a young man when he was called to build the ark. When he was 500 years old he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth (Ge 5:32), and when the flood came he was 600. (Ge 7:6) He then went on to live 350 years after the flood, dying at the ripe old age of 950. (Ge 9:28,29) After the flood, the length of life became less and less, and when Abraham died he was 175 years old. At the age of ninety-nine God told him he would have a son, and that his wife, Sarah, would conceive this son though she herself was already ninety. Together they conceived Isaac, who continued Abraham’s line, and from there Abraham was able to become “the father of many nations” as God had promised. (Ge 17: 4)
Though set apart since birth, when Moses was called to bring the Israelites out of Egypt he was eighty years old. I sometimes forget that he was “up there” in age, along with his brother Aaron who was eighty-three, because of all the things he did, and the fact that he wandered the desert with them for the forty years. He is known as the greatest prophet. “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt […]. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” (Dt 34: 10-12) These are just three examples of those whom God used later in their lives, those who trusted that God was able to use them at that time and changed the face of the world.
On the opposite side of the age spectrum, Paul wrote to Timothy, telling him, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” Even the young can be examples to all people, and they can be chosen by God to do His great works. David is a prime example of this. He was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons, a shepherd, and with just a sling and a stone he was able to defeat Goliath. “So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.” (1 Sa 17:50) He was also chosen by the Lord over all his brothers as the next king over Israel even though he was the youngest. Jesse didn’t even think about presenting him in front of Samuel when he came to anoint the new king. Yet David was a great leader, a man after God’s own heart.
Esther was young when she was chosen as King Xerxes new queen. She was placed there by God, and through God was given the courage to bring herself in front of the king uninvited (which was against the law), and tell him of Haman’s plot to destroy her people, the Jews. Because of that she was able to change what would have been their fate. And while this was happening, she listened to Mordecai, her cousin who had adopted her when her own parents passed away. He told her to hide her nationality at first because he knew of Haman’s detest for the Jews, and he was the one who urged her to talk to the king about Haman’s plot. This is a great example of the young respecting the wisdom of their elder.
Mary was still just a child when she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus, and Jesus Himself was only thirty when He started His ministry. By the age of thirty-three, the age at which he was crucified, He had made such an enormous impact, having both loyal followers and loyal adversaries. And because of Him we have been saved. We have accepted Him, thus finding favor with His Father to whom we now are able to belong.
Young or old, it doesn’t matter. If we are called, and we all will be at one point in our lives, we need to stand up and accept that call no matter what it may be. The younger generation should not look at the older generation and see “washed up old has-beens who just don’t understand and have nothing to teach,” and in turn the older generation should not look down on the younger and think that “they’re just babies who couldn’t teach me anything for I’ve been in this world far longer than they have.” If we all live our lives daily for Him, immersing ourselves in our prayers, our devotions, and our Bibles, we will all be able to teach each other. As long as these lessons are from God, then they will be holy and righteous.
I pray that we all remember that we continue to learn every day, and that God sends people into our lives to help us with our walk. Age has no value, it is what is in the person’s heart, and that comes from the Lord. “For the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sa 16:7b)