Always Valuable and Never a Burden to God
by Dee Dowdy
Recently, Bridget and I watched a new movie called Astronaut staring Richard Dreyfuss as Angus. Angus is a widower who is in his eighties and has recently moved into an assisted living facility. In his earlier life, he was a civil engineer who was responsible for the construction of a nearby airport and its runways. Yet, all his life, Angus had dreamed of going into space. Therefore, when he hears about a contest that would allow him to be an astronaut in a new private space jet, he enters it and wins even though he was too old to do so.
Ironically, he becomes one of the three finalists, and has to be interviewed. While, at the company’s headquarters for the interview, he overhears some of the engineers talking about an issue regarding the runway for the new space jet. He realizes that this is the very same runway he had dealt with many years before that had issues. But, before he can do anything about the situation, he has a small stroke, disqualifying him from the contest.
A few days later, when he is better, he realizes he must make the engineers aware of an unknown defect in the runway that could cause catastrophic damage to the space jet as well as loss of life. So, he manages to overcome many obstacles and the company CEO decides to listen to him. Thus, lives are saved; even the launch is delayed by six months. Because of his work in saving the whole venture, Angus is allowed to fly into space. This movie touched my heart because it reminded me how many of our senior citizens must feel. Angus was old but he still had wants and dreams but no one wanted to listen. In fact, many tried to discourage him. He felt like a burden to his only daughter and her family, so he agreed to sell his home and move into assisted living. He felt alone because the love of his life had passed away. And he felt helpless and unneeded when the “big shots” at the Space Jet company refused to listen despite his years of experience. Yet, it was because of his very knowledge and tenacity, that lives were saved and the company’s venture into space was successful. He was useful despite his age!
In 2 Samuel, we hear of an elderly man named Barzillai who had been a great comforter to King David when David was going through a terrible time in his life (See 2 Samuel 17:27-29). Yet, when David was in a position to reward Barzillai, he refused to allow David to do so saying: “I am eighty years old to- day, and I can no longer enjoy anything. Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the musi- cians as they play. I would only be a burden to my lord the king.” That is the way many elderly feel, that they are a burden on others. Our society has added in this idealism because movies and television shed a negative light on becoming old.
But God does NOT see us that way. No one is a burden to God and no one is useless to Him. He loves us despite our age and He always has something we can do to assist in His kingdom work such as prayer, mentoring new Christians, encouraging those who are having a tough time. And let me say, that as your pastor, I see the elderly as well as the young as precious in God’s sight! And let me ask you all a favor: NEVER think any of you are a burden to me. Yes, I stay busy but I am never too busy to fulfill my calling to be a pastor to all of you. I love you all both young and old!
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