Creativity in the Mature Years
“The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness.”1
I have read that “Studies show that older people who hold jobs from which they do not have to retire get along best. Those who have a chance to do something creatively after they retire get along second best. Those with less chance to do something creatively go down most quickly. The body is a closed unit with lots of energy in it. Unless the individual has a way to discharge the energy, he gets into difficulty, and the difficulty is sickness and death.”2
Remember that “Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel lying on his back on a scaffold when almost 90; Paderewski at 79 played the piano superbly; at 88 John Wesley preached every day; Tennyson, when 83, wrote Crossing the Bar. Booth Tarkington wrote sixteen novels after 60, some of them when he was almost totally blind. Benjamin Franklin went to France in the service of his country when 78, and wrote his autobiography when over 80.”3
Jerry Beavan, at age 90, is another man who is still living a very active and productive life. He has worked in various foreign countries for extended periods of time … has been a professor in both a Liberal Arts College and a Theological Seminary … has been involved in the American government process as a state and federal lobbyist … and has been a journalist and news commentator. For 15 years he worked with the Billy Graham team ending up as Director of Crusade Planning and Organization. Dr. Graham said of him, "Jerry Beavan is the architect of world evangelism as we know it today." In his so-called retirement years Jerry has been able to develop a weekly email newsletter, “American News Commentary,” which discusses and explains current events in the light of historic Christian viewpoints. His comments are well worth reading. You can read his website blog at http://american-news.notlong.com/. To subscribe send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking personally, I am currently 76 and admit that I have never been healthier in my life or more productive. And Carol, my proofreader, is 81 and is a very capable and excellent help for our work. Being actively involved in something to live for that is bigger than one's self and big enough to die for is a great help for productive and fulfilling living for most, if not all, of one’s life.
Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank you that you have a purpose for my life. Please help me to know what that purpose is, help me to get the training I need to sharpen my skills so that I can serve you more effectively and therein glorify your name all the days of my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”
1. Proverbs 16:31 (NKJV).
2. Dr. Ewald W. Busse, in Knight’s Treasury of Illustrations, p. 244.
3. Walter B. Knight, Ibid, p. 243.