Exodus 20:12 – “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” NKJV
Ephesians 6:1-3 – “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” NKJV
That is a question I have been asked more than once in my years of Christian service. I had one person ask that question and followed it up with, “Brother Roy, don’t you want to go to heaven?” YES, I want to go to heaven but like Paul, I sometimes feel in a difficult place between choosing to go home or stay here and continue the labors set before me. I believe I have a purpose for which God created and called me yet fulfilled. Therefore, I want to LIVE LONG or, at least, LONG ENOUGH to accomplish that purpose. I am not saying, as the George Burns and Ray Price song, “I Wish I Was Eighteen Again” but I do want to live long, be strong and impact my world for the cause of the Kingdom of God.
The Psalmist in Psalm 34:11-14, declared, “Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” NKJV. That is an essential part of my desire to have a long life on earth. Frequently, in Scripture, the Word of the Lord was, “do this and I will give long life or prolong your days.”
I like to think like Caleb when Israel began to possess the Promised Land, “As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and coming in.” [Joshua 14:11]. The writer of Proverbs instructed, “Hear, my son, and accept my sayings and the years of your life will be many.” [Proverbs 4:10]. He also said concerning God’s Commandments, “…length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.” [Proverbs 3:2]
In Acts we read concerning David, “…when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep…” [Acts 13:36]. Our desire and purpose should be to fulfill the purposes, mission, commission or assignment to which we have been called. You are never too young or too old to fulfill God’s purposes. He speaks through children and we have numerous references to people in advanced age doing exploits for God. It is declared that in these Last Days, when God pours out His Spirit upon all flesh, “Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions…” [Joel 2:28].
If we throw in the towel and declare we are too old, too young, too weak, too tired, too rich or too poor we impede the purposes of God in our lives and affect others around us. Who can say that your timely word or deed will not reach a heart who becomes a Daniel, David, Jeremiah, Billy Graham, and David Brainerd, Charles Finney or someone who will become a mighty warrior in these Last Days?
My grandfather declared for as long as I can remember that he would live to be 100 years of age. He did and almost made it to 101 passing into glory just 9 days short of that milestone. He did not just exist but impacted others around him with his character, words of wisdom and being a role model for his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and countless others. He impacted my life in many ways and one was his committed resolve to demonstrate integrity. He was a man among men and what made him the most powerful was his love for God and family. I want to live long to fulfill my purpose. Heaven will be for eternity but our sojourn through this thing we call life is incredibly temporary.
God bless you and I pray you have a wonderful day and a long life to enjoy God, life and fulfill His purposes in your generation.