When we’re young we often figure we need to get a bit older before we do God’s will. When we’re old we figure it’s too late. We’ve done our part. Let the young people do it.
Someone forgot to tell God about the ‘truth’ of those statements.
Lois Prater felt God’s call to missions when she was 15 years old. She went to Bible college to prepare and was already preaching but then she met this fellow and well, you know the story. He didn’t have the same commitment to the Lord as she did. But, she was going to change him. Yeah.
So, for most of her life she was a stay-at-home mom, still loving the Lord. But missions…?
Then in 1988, her husband died. And those old missionary stirrings began to rumble in her heart. Now, well into her seventies, she went on a short organized missions trip to China, then on two other trips to the Philippines. This last journey lasted a year as she preached in the churches and served where she could.
One day a desperate man came to her and offered to sell his baby for the equivalent of $40. Lois’s heart reacted. She gave the man some money to help feed his family and helped him find a job. But she knew she had to do more.
“Lord, I’m too old to go now,” she thought.
Still, in the Spring of 1991, she went home to Washington state in the U.S. and sold her house, car, and furniture with the idea of building an orphanage in the Philippines. It wasn’t easy. “I struggled, but I knew that what I was trying to do was something much more important than hanging onto [my] faded couch,” Prater said.
By 1994 land had been purchased and a building erected. At the age of 80, she became mama to what was eventually hundreds of Filipino children. She tackled all kinds of administrative problems, cultural problems, and some major health problems before finally turning the now well-established ministry over to another director when she was nearly 90.
Though she returned to the U.S. to live with her daughter she still made periodic visits to the orphanage.
Too old? Well …
Let someone younger do it? No one younger stepped up.
“I didn’t know anything about business, about building an orphanage,” Prater observed. “All along, I’ve just trusted in God, and He’s answered my prayers. I did what I could do, and God did the rest.”
But, how about those who are too young?
Well, David was probably a teenager when he cut Goliath down to size. Jeremiah surely wasn’t ready to speak to the nation at his age. At least, he didn’t think so. God thought so, though.
“Before I shaped you in the womb,
I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
that’s what I had in mind for you.”
But I said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me.
I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!”
God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’
I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there.
I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it.
Don’t be afraid of a soul.
I’ll be right there, looking after you.”
God reached out, touched my mouth, and said,
“Look! I’ve just put my words in your mouth—hand-delivered!
See what I’ve done? I’ve given you a job to do.”
(Jeremiah 1:5-10, Message version)
Old? Young? We serve a God who dwells outside of time. He’s not nearly as concerned about how many candles you will blow out this year as you are.
Two things are necessary: God’s call on our life and the will to move forward in that call by faith. In obedience. In obedience!
Too old? Too young? No education?
Eighty-year-old Moses heard God’s call to deliver His people. You may feel like Him. “Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!” (Exodus 4:13, the Message). His buddy Caleb wasn’t so hesitant 45 years later, “Here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day…” (Joshua 14:10-12, NKJV)
When God speaks, He’s not asking your age or your qualifications. He just wants to hear, “Yes, Lord.” He’ll take care of the rest as you go in faith.
Consulted: Herald.net Everett, Washington; Charisma magazine; Christian Science Monitor
Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash
Someone said that at the age of 20 we have the face that nature gave us. At 50 we have the face we deserve.