We have a remarkable friend who is 84 years young. His letters overflow with zest and enthusiasm for life. He loves to garden and wins blue ribbons at his County Fair. He says, “With God’s help, we won ribbons for sunflowers and corn.”
Fred sent us a photo of himself standing by his giant-sized crops. His sunflowers measured almost 18 inches across. His corn was 15 feet tall and the ears were 6 1/2 feet above the ground.
In his letter he said, “People ask me how I can do this. I tell them I can plant the seed and God gives the increase.”
Fred is an extraordinary fellow who doesn’t know his age. His attitude keeps him active and healthy.
I am even more amazed by his creative writing and his pithy statements. “God mightily uses Christians who can stay cool in a hot place, sweet in a sour place and little in a big place.”
Fred’s handwriting is very neat and legible. He signed his last letter with this remark: “I am working for the King of Kings. The pay is not much, but the retirement system is out of this world!”
I recently read a story of another elderly man. This man had been diagnosed with a terminal disease with only a few weeks to live. The man became so excited about seeing Jesus that he was healed. His disease just completely vanished. The doctor chuckled and remarked that if the man ever died, he would have to keep it a secret.
This man and our friend Fred have joy and love that radiates like sunbeams. I am sure both of them have had problems and physical pain as we all have. Yet these two men also have a wonderful secret. Every day they have made a conscious decision to trust to God and be joyful.
I think these two men must have known Isaiah 46:3-4: “… I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you and will take care of you. I will carry you and save you.” (NCB)
Blessing someone else leaves no time for self-pity and anxiety. When problems appear just say, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NIV).
I love Fred’s sense of humor, so the next time we write to Fred, we are going to send him an Anti-Depression Kit someone sent to me. I’ll put these things in his kit:
• An eraser, so you can make all your mistakes disappear.
• A penny, so you will never have to say, “I’m broke.”
• A marble, so nobody can say, “You’ve lost all your marbles.”
• A rubber band, to stretch yourself beyond your limits.
• A string, to tie things together when everything is falling apart.
• A Hug to remind you that someone somewhere cares about you.
You know what? I want to be like Fred when I grow up because age is just a matter of attitude.