It’s Old – Replace it!

Work on our new kitchen is finally starting this week! Our current kitchen has done us good service, but after 20 years its old, worn-out, and needs replacing.

This is a philosophy that many quote:

  • ‘I’ve had my car for 5 years; it’s old – replace it!’
  • ‘I remember when I first wore this shirt; it’s old – replace it!’
  • ‘My drill/food processor/lawnmower has served me well; it’s old – replace it!

Not always

Sometimes age is a good thing… the vintage car, the antique necklace, Granny’s old ornament with sentimental value, the quirky 17th century cottage, Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ … It’s old – don’t replace it.

And people?

  • A younger member of staff is cheaper; she’s old – replace her
  • ‘Planning for the start of our football season – our striker’s off the pace; he’s old – replace him.’
  • ‘She’s served on this committee for 40 years. She’s not as sharp as he was; she’s old – replace her.’

And yet…

I think influential older men and women…

  • Captain Tom, the British Army officer in 2020 raised money for charity in the run-up to his 100th birthday during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Mother Teresa working on into her 80s with the poorest of the poor – her homes for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, mobile clinics…
  • Paul McCartney, after 60 years influencing the world music, was pretty sharp at Glastonbury this year.
  • Queen Elizabeth’s leadership of the nation… I’ve never heard anyone say of her: ‘She’s old – replace her.’

And me?

There’ve been time’s in school and church leadership, where ‘He’s old – replace him,’ has been the right call…

I think of Bible characters who made an impact as older people… Moses before Pharoah, crossing the Red Sea, Daniel in the lions den, Simeon and Anna in the Nativity narrative…

…I enjoyed reading ‘Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged’ in Proverbs this morning.

Being old may mean I’m replaced but doesn’t mean I’m useless. I just have a different part to play.

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