Reflections On Turning 70

Today I’m reminded of a neat story told about the baseball great Ty Cobb, who played in a different era. He retired in 1928 at the age of 41 with a lifetime .367 batting average.

When he was 70 a reporter asked, “What do you think you’d hit if you were playing today?”

Cobb replied, “Oh, about .290. Maybe .300.”

The reporter responded, “I guess that’s because of increased travel? Night games? Artificial Turf? And new pitches like the slider? Right?

Cobb calmly glared at the reporter and said, “No. It’s because I’m 70!

I can relate to Cobb. With the NCAA tournament beginning, I get excited and feel like I could still play some ball. But the reality is my mind says one thing but my body quite another.

Today is a milestone that is difficult to imagine at age 20. Or even 30 or 40.
It’s one thing to preach on aging, but quite another to admit you are actually the one being identified in Ecclesiastes 12. If we’re honest, there is an aspect where aging frightens us a bit. Jonathan Swift expressed it this way, “Every man desires to live long, but no man wants to be old.”

I am part of that intrepid group of Baby Boomers that are known for their desire to stay young. Look young. And act young. In fact, some have advanced the idea that 70 is the new 50. We struggle with the phrase “senior citizen.” (Although, I’m not adverse to accept the discount at restaurants). However, all of this is denying the inevitable.

The sobering words of the Psalmist come to mind on this day.

The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

While I’ve been blessed with good health, and still feel energetic and enthusiastic about life, one day, like all others, age with catch up with me. Life on earth will end. And I will fly away. But in the meantime, let me be used for God’s purpose.

I was thinking about a sermon I prepared several years entitled: “Honoring Senior Saints–They Still Bear Fruit in Old Age.” It was designed to encourage the older people in the congregation. I guess I’m now one of them!

In that sermon, I pointed out that God has used older people to accomplish his purpose. Moses was 80 and Aaron 83 when they led Israel out of Egypt. Caleb was 85 when he said, “Give me this mountain” as he staked his claim in the promised land of Canaan. Daniel was probably over 80 when he served as Governor of Babylon and thrown into the den of lions. Older people can still bear fruit for the Lord.

We’ve announced that we’re leaving local work here in North Texas the first of June, but we’re not retiring to a rocking chair in Florida. Not yet, anyway. We have a jam-packed schedule for the rest of the year of traveling, preaching and teaching.

While I don’t want to be that old preacher who thinks that he’s just as good as he ever was, and refuses to step aside, I still want to be used and bear fruit as long as possible. Whatever wisdom, knowledge or skills that I may possess, I trust that I may still use them to the glory of God and for the edification of His people. I do know I must release the past with whatever mistakes I have made or successes I have enjoyed. I must accept the present. And like Paul, “press on.”

But more importantly, I want to enjoy this rest of the journey with my wonderful wife, Norma Jean, who’s been my faithful partner for the past 50 years. To focus on the future. To keep our eyes on the eternal goal. And to go hand in hand to a land where we will never grow old.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 1 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2Cor. 4:16-18).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Age

21 responses to “Reflections On Turning 70

  1. MA

    Amen, looking forward to seeing you in April!

  2. Happy birthday and I am glad you are still fruitful for the Lord!

  3. Happy Birthday! This also might make you feel better: After years of research, top Scientists at the University of Florida have found that people who have the most birthdays tend to live the longest.

  4. Ron Kochik

    Happy Birthday Ken! May the LORD bless you and keep you in HIS perfect care and protection as you continue for HIS glory!
    Thank you so very much for all that you do in service for our LORD!!!

  5. Ron Kochik

    Happy Birthday Ken! May the LORD bless you and keep you in HIS perfect care and protection!

  6. Chuck Richardson

    May the Lord bless you and your wife in His work!

  7. Brent Hunter

    Happy bd brother!
    Great article.
    Sherri Stevens was thrilled you would be coming to see them! You and Norma are very special to me! Give her my love.

    God bless!


  8. Larry & Gayle Benderman

    Happy Birthday, Ken. We miss your smiling face and energetic handshake in Columbia, Tennessee.

  9. Jerry King

    Great article for all of us who are reaching that time in our lives when we can see Eccl. 12 coming to fruition. May God bless your journey as you launch out in a different path of work in His kingdom. Hope you have a wonderful birthday.

  10. Brenda

    Happy Birthday! Have a fun, sweet and blessed day! Be sure to tell us if tomorrow is different, because I’ll be at 70 soon…

  11. Billie Mann

    You and Cal. Like to hear that you will still be busy. I guess if Cal can teach ATC at 76, you can teach and preach at your age since you are a few years younger. Miss you all. Let us know when you are going to Branson again. Meet you there for Mexican food again and cards!!!!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

  12. Mike Mitchell

    Hi Billie! I saw Cal three years ago at OKC while attending some training. How are you two?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s