I wrote a sermon years ago that I have never preached. The title of the sermon is "You're Never Too Old to Be Used by God” . I will preach this sermon one day when the Holy Spirit says that the time is right.
There is something which everybody wants and yet almost everyone fears: growing old. Old age has many frightening aspects: an aging body which is more susceptible to illness; declining strength; feelings of uselessness (especially after retirement); the loss of friends and loved ones through death; the reality of one’s own death drawing nearer; loneliness; feelings of alienation from one’s children and grandchildren, who are busy with other interests and pursuits; and, very often, financial concerns due to dwindling income. Remember this God gave us temporary bodies.
2 Corinthians 5:1-8 NIV  For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,  because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord.  For we live by faith, not by sight.  We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
As we get older, everyday tasks start taking more time to finish. Injuries take longer to heal. Aches and pains come without warning and refuse to leave. Eyes and ears see and hear less than they used to. The gap between what we want to do and what we can do begins to widen. The world feels like it’s changing faster than we can keep up with it.
Even in a congregation full of God’s people, there comes a point when it’s easy for elderly members to feel like a burden, unable to contribute the way they used to.
Maybe you’ve felt that. Maybe you’ve wondered, as you’ve gotten older, if you really have anything left to contribute at all.
Here’s something to think about when you have faithfully served in ministry for many years and now you know that you are slowing down. You know that you are not serving with the same energy that you once did. Your life circumstances may require that you scale back. You are entering a new season and it may be time to step back to preserve your physical and mental well-being, but you still want to make an impact
Here are some things you can do.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Our prayers are powerful and God hears them at all times. You can pray anywhere and your prayers are not relegated to a church building or time of day. Our prayers continue to support and uplift the ministries of the church and beyond the four walls.
The Bible says that the prayer of a righteous person is both powerful and effective.
James 5:16-18 NIV Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (emphasis mine)
You can pray for your Pastor, your Pastor’s family, church leadership, other members, and various ministries of the church. You can pray for new volunteers, fresh ideas, new souls to come to Christ, and the overall well-being of the ministry. You can take the prayer requests that are mentioned in Bible Study, announced in church service and incorporate them into your daily prayer time. You can pray for the nation, your city, your neighborhood and there are many more things you can pray about just ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.
Your prayers matter and it is one of the best ways to stay connected to God while continuing to serve. There will always be someone or something that we can pray for and about.
Giving is another valuable way to serve and remain connected. You can give financially or with food/clothing to help support specific ministries for those in need. Giving represents the light of Christ and you can stay engaged without being physically present.
I realize that when we start to slow down we may not have as much to give so set boundaries so that you won’t become overwhelmed while still serving the Kingdom.
Luke 21:1-4 NIV As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Give from a place of joy and not obligation.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 NIV Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Our giving represents God’s goodness and a way to share His resources with those who are in need.
Luke 6:38 NIV Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
3. Share Your Testimony
You can share your testimony about how God has moved in your life. The power of testimony is real. The courage it takes to share your whole truth with your whole heart builds resilience and fosters connection with others. We need connection in order to recover and build healthy supportive relationships. These relationships help us stay focused. Sharing our testimony propels us into a life filled with meaning and connection. Feelings of Isolation and loneliness disappear. We can see how God is working in our lives and we find purpose.
4. Renew Your Mind Daily
Continue to renew your mind with God’s Word, positive affirmation, and a grateful heart.
Romans 12:2 NIV Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Our thoughts have the power to build up or tear down. When we allow our thoughts to wander, then fear, insecurity, envy, and anxiety set in and we create scenarios that are untrue and completely contrary to God’s Word.
God’s Word helps you combat negative thoughts. A renewed mind revolutionizes your focus and changes the trajectory of your life. Renew your mind, to be free from negative thinking. Renew your mind, to move forward in your God-given purpose. Renew your mind, to stay connected to God’s Holy Word. Renew your mind, to overcome the schemes of the enemy. Renew your mind, to be equipped and empowered to pursue your purpose with boldness.
5 Pass the baton
In a relay race, as one runner approaches the end of his lap, the next runner starts running before the baton is passed.
Why? It helps keep the pace going. If the incoming runner had to grind to a halt while passing the baton to another stationary runner, the team would lose valuable seconds in their race. Instead, the baton is passed at a crucial moment—once both runners are in sync, running the same direction at the same speed.
In a spiritual sense, passing the baton isn’t about removing ourselves from the picture or becoming irrelevant. It’s about equipping the runners ahead of us to run their race—running in sync with them as we prepare them for the day when our portion of the race is finished.
You won’t be here forever. Neither will the experiences, lessons and insights you’ve gained during your lifetime . . . unless you pass them on. That’s your baton; that’s the gift you can hand to the runner in front of you.
You’ve learned so much during your race (both how to do things and how not to do things), and now you have the opportunity to share what you’ve learned with those setting out to run their race.
Like Paul did with Timothy when he approached the end of his lap he knew he had done everything in his power to pass on the baton God had given him.
2 Timothy 4:5-8 NIV  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.  For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Paul set an example for Timothy and you can do the same for younger saints. You can share both hard-won lessons and encouragement with them. so that they can emulate you,
If you are in a season where God is calling you to slow down, He is saying just that, slow down, not stop. There are still many ways to serve. I have listed just four. Celebrate the diverse ways in which God has used you, in the past and pray for wisdom on how to stay connected and still in this new season. While your involvement may look different, it is no less impactful. God will continue to use you to minister to the needs and hearts of His people. Be open to this new season and how God will continue to use you.
1 Corinthians 12:22-26 NIV On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.