By Peggy Park
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
It is wise to measure our strength as we get older and not waste time on unimportant tasks. I ask myself, “Is it worth my time and energy?” “Is this what the Lord has for me to do?” I look back on my life and see where I let time slip through my fingers performing duties others assigned to me, or where I simply assumed that what I was doing was “the right thing.”
“Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died, yet his eyes were not weak nor his strength gone” (Deuteronomy 34:7). While none of us claims to be Moses, I think some of us give in to old age too soon and cut back on our service for the Lord. We may even be guilty of pampering ourselves, thinking we have already done our share and that it’s time for younger people to do the work of the kingdom. If we do this, we forfeit passing on to the next generation the valuable lessons the Lord has taught us.
How Should We Live?
Margaret Therkelson, a longtime prayer leader and spiritual director for many years in Lexington, Kentucky stated, “We should live so that crisis does not find us off center.” This is wise advice.
As I’ve grown older I’ve found it is easier to prevent offenses and grievances from taking root. They use up energy that could be better used elsewhere without sapping our limited supply.
I don’t want to stand before the Lord in Heaven with a past marked by ungodly attitudes. “Let it go” is a good motto. Let’s remember that most of us fall into the category of the walking wounded and let’s call this to mind when people come against us.
It is wise to ask, “Are all my relationships in order?” You may need to make a phone call, pay a visit, or write to those with whom you may be at odds.
My husband and I have longevity in our families, but I am still taking steps to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible when I take leave from this earthly tent. Only one of our three children lives in the same city with us, so it may be difficult to get everything sorted out when one, or both of us, are no longer here. (We are in our 80s.)
I encourage couples to do as we did by purchasing funeral packages so your children will not have to do this. In addition, we have purchased our burial plots. The husband of a lady who died told me she requested her name in her hand writing on her tomb stone. I liked this idea and have put this in my written instructions. I have not written an obituary, but I plan to do so.
All of our contacts for investment advisers, lawyers, and others are in a folder with passwords and other pertinent information. I’ve made a list of my jewelry and who is to have my mother’s ring and other pieces. I am in the process of writing each of our children a letter asking them to forgive me for known mistakes I made in their upbringing. (Don’t we all wish we had been wiser?)
Leaving a Legacy
A notebook for each of our children contains family stories and my published spiritual writings. I have a folder for each of my grandchildren with materials I have collected, one of which is On the Job Rule #42, The Lookout, March 15, 2015, written by T. R. Robertson. I am trying to leave a legacy for each grandchild in a journal I keep about times we have spent together. I also record admirable traits I observe in them in the hopes they will develop them further. The journal also has a record of prayers I have said for them. My husband is converting our old movies and tapes of family trips and events into digital format for each of our children.
My husband and I keep separate bank accounts. (He is a neat record keeper, while I am not.) We have our names on each other’s accounts. Our wills leave everything to the other spouse until their death. It is wise to have both names attached to safe deposit boxes as well as the name of a local family member so access is not delayed in the time of death.
IRAs are handled separately from a will and need the attention of a competent investment adviser and a knowledgeable lawyer.
Most people understand the need for a living will for making your wishes known for end of life procedures.
We have discussed our funerals with one another, including the location of the services and the ministers who will officiate.
“There is a time for everything. . . a time to be born and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2).
My heart’s desire is to finish the work the Lord has given me to do. Every day I am aware of being in the race until the end so I don’t stand before the Lord with empty hands. This is my prayer: “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone” (Psalm 71:9).
Peggy Park is a freelance writer in Lexington, Kentucky.