God calls people of all ages. Young and old; aged, middle aged and barely aged; adolescents and adults – all are called by God.
We read this clearly in the Bible. God calls the very young like Samuel and Jeremiah to be prophets whilst they’re still no more than boys. David was anointed for service when he was just a boy, tending the fields. And Paul has to write to Timothy reminding him not to let others look down on him because he’s young. God calls the very young.
God also calls the elderly. Abraham was 75 when God called him to leave his place of birth and set out towards the land of Canaan. Moses was 80 when God appeared in the burning bush and gave him the task of returning to Egypt to lead his people to freedom. Sarah was 90 when God called her to have a child! So God calls the elderly too.
God calls the young and the old. But what about those in the middle? What about those adults who are in the prime of life? Why do we seem to have fewer stories in Scripture of those in their 30s, 40s, 50s or 60s responding to God’s call?
I don’t think it’s because He doesn’t call that age group. I think it’s because that age group are less likely to hear him. During those years we can become so consumed with other things in life – family, work, career, looking after children, looking after parents, all sorts of responsibilities – that we can easily crowd God out from our lives.
But maybe there’s something else as well. Maybe when we’re ‘in the prime of life’, when we’ve finished our education and are raring to make our mark on the world, it can be easy to think we can do it all on our own. So it’s easy even for Christians to stop looking to God during those years of life.
The story of David is fascinating, since it’s the fullest picture the Bible gives of a person’s complete life, rather than just a snapshot of them at a specific age. David began as a youth who heard from God and delighted in obeying him. He progressed to being a successful man who won the world’s acclaim, but who somehow lost something of his intimacy with God. That led him into sin, and into nearly losing his Kingdom. As an older man, chastened, wiser and weaker, he then needed to reurn to God at some later point.
If you’re neither very young nor very old, how is your relationship with God? Are you still hearing from Him regularly? Are you dependent on Him, or trying to do too much in your own strength? Are you resolved to not lose Him during your 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, whilst you’re chasing success?
Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s a lay preacher and leader within the Methodist Church, author of a biography on John Wesley, and has a biography on William Wilberforce coming out in October 2014. He enjoys good films, good food, praying for London, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markraynespark.