I’m sure by now that it’s pretty well known throughout the Sligo family that your senior pastor possesses a healthy infatuation with the sport of tennis. Well, maybe to call it an infatuation is putting it a little mildly. The truth be told, I love tennis. I love playing it, watching others play it (the professionals that is) and I love reading about the history of the sport. Yes, tennis is a sport that I will love as long as it remains a part of our sports culture and as long as I am physically able to play the game.
But a funny thing happened the other day while playing against some young men that are more than half my age. After defeating both of my youthful opponents quite handily, I realized that just about every part of my body was experiencing some sort of pain. And to be perfectly honest with you, even prior to competing against these young men, I was barely able to hit the ball as hard as I am accustomed because of the amount of pain I was feeling at the time. But despite my lack of mobility, it wasn’t enough to prevent me from experiencing the thrill of victory. Then what made the difference you ask? Well, because I have been playing the game since age 16, these years have allowed me to acquire a great deal more than just a few aches and pains, it has also allowed to me to gain some wisdom regarding how to win when I’m not at my best.
In his book The Circle Maker, author Mark Batterson says that, “The older you get, the more faith you should have because you have experienced more of God’s faithfulness.” And when you think about it, isn’t that the way it is in other areas of our lives? The longer we’ve done a particular thing, the more proficient we should be in that area. Then why isn’t that the norm when it comes to our walk with God? Wouldn’t it only make sense to deduce that the more we have experienced God working in our lives, whether through answered prayer or by some other means, the more faith and knowledge we should have acquired as it relates to the ways and wisdom of God? But as Pastor Fielder recently pointed out in her message to our Sligo School graduates, maturity does not automatically come with age. And this is why the apostle Paul reminds us that instead of having progressed to a diet of solid foods, many of God’s people are still on a liquid diet. (1 Corinthians 3:1, 2)
So because wisdom doesn’t always come with years, shouldn’t this mean that old age is not necessarily an asset, nor should youth be automatically considered a liability? Doesn’t God expect us to eventually put away our “childish ways” regardless of our age and begin to grow up and become the men and women that He desires? Just a thought from one who has learned a lot about how to play the game of tennis, but still has a great deal more to learn about life.