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Old Geezer Gumption, by Phil Ware

    Edgard Barreto is returning to his alma mater’s football team 39 years after he last suited up. Edgard is playing ball with guys 40 years younger than he is. But for this 60 year old, stretching the boundaries of possibility and expectation are nothing new. It’s not surprising for someone who has completed more than 200 marathons to say, “We try very hard not to be patterned by society, not to behave our age.”

    I don’t know what you call that, but the phrase I hang on it is “Old Geezer Gumption.” I hope I have it. I don’t want to rust out. I don’t want to settle. Dealing with the creeping limitations of age may cause changes in me physically, but I don’t want them to rip from the vitality of Spirit and accomplishment that I believe God desires.

    When the Christian era began at Pentecost, the Apostles claimed the day when “young men will see visions and old men will dream dreams” (Acts 2:17) had dawned. Growing staid and stale had nothing to do with Christians growing old. Looking back over a shoulder at the “good ol’” days was not spiritual, just settled in to nostalgic boredom. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” was the motto of an old organization, idea, or person about to get passed by on the road of life and in the era of gospel of transformation.

Growing staid and stale has nothing to do with Christians growing old.
    The exciting hope of Christianity is that while “our outer bodies are wasting away, inwardly we are being made new every day" (2 Cor. 4:16). The Holy Spirit is always working to transform us, little by little, to be more like Jesus (2 Cor. 3:18). True Christian maturity is not reaching a point, but knowing that the key point is to keep on reaching (Philippians 3:12-15).

    We can look back at our heritage of faith and point to great heroes who used the second half (and sometimes even the fourth quarter) of their lives to win great victories for God. As an old man, Abraham left his homeland and followed God’s promise. At 80, Moses came back and led the children of Israel out of Egypt. In their old age, Joshua and Caleb were undimmed by the passage of time and helped Israel capture the land that their peers had been afraid to enter 40 years earlier.

    So don’t settle in. Instead, set out and follow the call of God. “Old Geezer Gumption” is not a term of derision but the spiritual genes of those who follow Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my future and my fate determined by the mediocrity of societal norms!


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