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I’ve been thinking of this sentence ever since I read it. In a recent article, Ray Ortlund says this of his father: “An aged saint, glorifying and enjoying God, is a beautiful sight to behold.”

I can’t get this out of my mind.

An Aged Saint

I’m 51 now. I’m not exactly aged, but I’m not young either. I’m noticing that people become more of who they are as they get older. You either become a crank, or you become someone who is more tender towards God. I don’t see a lot of in between.

Here’s what I’m noticing: we crave aged saints. We look for those who are older because we recognize that we need their wisdom. The world tells us that only the young matter, but it’s a lie. Young leaders abound, and I’m grateful for them. But we don’t have a surplus of aged saints. If we can become that, we have something to offer that the world needs.

Glorifying and Enjoying God

I can bring to mind the faces of a few of my friends who are growing in holiness as they get older. There’s a freedom about them. You get the sense that they know Jesus, that they’ve spent time with him. At the same time that they become more like Jesus, they also seem to become more like themselves. They are happy in Jesus, not in a clichéd sense but for real. Whenever I spend time with them I feel encouraged.

I had lunch with such a friend the other day. As we left, I said to Charlene, “I think we got more out of that lunch than he did.”

Most of us understand that our purpose is to glorify and enjoy God. When you spend time with someone who’s been doing this for a long time, though, you experience something profound. It’s intangible and yet unmistakable. We don’t get joy by pursuing joy; we get it by pursuing Jesus — but when someone pursues Jesus, joy permeates their presence.

A Beautiful Sight

And so I think of the aged saints, glorifying and enjoying God, who have marked my life: my maternal grandmother; Leila Whitcombe, a widowed pastor’s wife I knew some thirty years ago. I think of those who are a bit older than me, even by a few years, who inspire me. I’m attracted by the beauty of their lives.

David Brooks writes:

About once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. These people can be in any walk of life. They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued. You often catch them looking after other people and as they do so their laugh is musical and their manner is infused with gratitude. They are not thinking about what wonderful work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all.

When I meet such a person it brightens my whole day.

That’s how I feel when I meet an aged saint who glorifies and enjoys God. It’s a worthy goal for all of us if God allows us to live that long. When you find someone like this, you find someone who reflects the beauty of God, encourages you, and brings glory to God. That’s the kind of person, by God’s grace, I want to become.