Getting Too Old?
For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old. Acts 4:22
Recently, I once again had the opportunity to hike in the mountains with my son. As we were hiking, and as I struggled to keep up with him, I looked back to just ten short years ago. At that time, he was only eight and I wasn’t pushing fifty. Hiking back then took some patience on my part as he was the slow one. Now, we’ve switched places. He’s now the one who wants to go farther, faster, and must patiently wait for me. As he’s gotten faster and stronger, I’ve just gotten older.
Though I may be slowing down physically, I don’t ever want to stop growing, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s my nature to remain stuck in the ruts of certain bad habits and behaviors. If I’m impatient and angry, it’s easy to simply say, That’s just how I’ve always been. I’m not going to change now. Others will simply have to get used to it.
This seems to be Luke’s tone in today’s passage when describing the healing of the lame beggar. Reinforcing the magnitude of the miracle, Luke makes a point of documenting that the man was over 40 years old. There’s some disagreement on life-expectancy at the time, but the passage makes 40 sound old – certainly too old to simply change. The man had been handicapped, probably since birth, and at 40, he wasn’t just going to outgrow his disability. His advanced age made his healing all that more miraculous.
This is where a lot of us find ourselves. As well-established adults, we have well-established destructive thoughts, language, and behaviors. Maybe we have a short temper, taking our anger out on our loved ones. Maybe we have a pornography, food, or drug addiction. Or maybe we’re dependent on the affirmation of others for our worth. Whatever it is, we’ve struggled – and failed – so many times, that we’ve just accepted that this is the way life is. I’ve been this way so long. Nothing is ever going to change.
We’re never too old to change though. As described by Jesus (Luke 9:23), the life of a disciple is one of continual growth and change as we daily deny our old ways to follow him. We’ll never arrive at perfection in this life and so, we must continually keep growing. Just as we’re never too old to follow Christ, we’re never too old to be transformed by him.