He was a tall, skinny man well advanced in years. Many of the things that young people dream of doing some day, the old man had already done; some things more than once. In his life there were many accomplishments. In school he excelled as an athlete. As a young man he sought knowledge and learned that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. As he grew older he chose a life of service to others. He fell in love and embraced it and found it was something precious and rare. As a profession he set out to teach and preach the gospel to all who would listen. He planted the seeds and God gave the increase. He went from one church to another telling others about the coming Kingdom of God. In his line of work there were people he married and people he buried. I imagine there were joy and sadness, laughter and tears, sweat and regret, a full heart and much heartache.
A change in life brought the now older man back into the classroom as a student and then as a teacher of young and eager minds. For several decades he taught and the children of the community became enlightened. Occasionally in his daily routine the old man will run into a former student and pleasantries are exchanged about the faded days of the past.
Now well into his 80’s the old man remains almost as sharp as he ever was. He is as quick with a smile and a hello as he is with a joke. He keeps his mind active with books, woodworking, and sports. In a crowded gymnasium filled with fans rooting for the Plymouth Pilots you might not notice him but he’s there. The memories of when he was on the court so many years ago back in that small Ohio town still echo in his mind and create a stir in his heart. He’s not just a spectator either. From early spring until late fall he joins a foursome every Monday for 18 holes of golf at the Tri-Way course.
With all his accomplishments you would think the old man would take life easy. He doesn’t. Early each morning he leaves his house on Baker Street and walks to the nearby McDonald’s for coffee and fellowship. I think its good exercise he says and of course he’s right. He enjoys seeing his friends and on occasion he makes a new one.
Last Thursday something unusual happened. The old man fell down. Having been successful putting one foot in front of the other hundreds of thousands of times the combination of left then right failed him and down he went. He laid there and I can only imagine what went through his mind. People gathered around. Someone called 911. An ambulance came and with professional care the old man was strapped in and taken to the emergency room. A black eye, some lacerations, and a bump on the head were the toll this time. The old man says he can’t wait for someone to notice the black eye so he can say, “You should see the other guy”.
Is this man really old? Maybe he forged his birth certificate or could it be that he’s really aging backward and getting younger each year? God is the one who knows the truth and I am pretty sure He likes the old man.
Bob Collier is the pastor of North Salem Church of God.