A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
About the Author
J. I. PACKER (DPhil, Oxford University) was an esteemed theologian and author who influenced a whole generation of pastors, leaders, students, and laypersons. His best-known book is the classic Knowing God.
Table of Contents
1 We Grow Old
2 Soul and Body
3 Keeping Going
4 We Look Forward
Chapter 1: We Grow Old
This book was started in June 2012, on the fourth day of the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee. Those who are elderly are sometimes divided into three categories: younger olds (65-75), medium olds (75-85), and oldest olds (85 plus). The Queen has unflaggingly pursued her Christian resolve to serve, and this is what the elderly should do as much as their mental and physical health allows. Aging is not something that is easy, and living to God’s glory requires strength of character. Ecclesiastes provides a picture of aging that shows weakness, decline, loss, and death, but this is not the whole story of what aging can involve. Rather than loss, aging can also bring the ripeness of maturity. Those who are middle-aged can grow in God’s grace, displaying a godly character and harvesting the fruit of the Spirit. Scripture teaches that spiritual fruitfulness is worth more than material prosperity, and this spiritual ripeness can increase as we age. Proverbs teaches us that age can bring wisdom, and wisdom is more desirable than silver or gold. Psalms teaches us that the aged can bear much fruit and flourish. When we come to our last lap around the track of life, we can be fruitful and serve others no matter how old we are.
We need to live for God every day. We have long-term plans, but we need to keep daily, fresh accounts with God as we seek to glorify him. As we grow nearer to giving an account of our lives to God, we need to take more care of how we live every day. We also need to live in the present moment, being conscious of the presence of God all of the time. Cultivating companionship with the divine is a vital discipline. Overindulging in daydreams and nostalgia is a bad habit that keeps the elderly from growing as they ought. Living so that we are ready for meeting Christ whenever he calls us is essential. We have all seen the elderly die in numerous ways and states, and we need to be ready regardless of the way that we are called to leave this world. There should be a holy expectation and anticipation about going with Jesus. We should notice that the world tells retirees to stop being actively involved in service, and to live it up in self-indulgence, looking out for their own interests and pleasures. Even setting aside Christian values, this advice will destroy a person’s well-being, since it removes the possibility of deeply satisfying engagement and work. It is a mistake to set the elderly aside from being active in their families and churches. . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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