A few days ago, I talked about my grandad in one of our YouTube videos. As you will have seen from his photograph, granddad was tall and strong (he’s the bloke at the back in the middle). He served in the East Yorkshire Regiment, including tours of India and China. He was a boxing champion and won a glittering array of trophies. Like King Saul, he stood head and shoulders above his compatriots. Granddad had every right, humanly speaking to be proud and self-sufficient. The result was that he didn’t have that much time for religion. He came to church with us at Christmas but God was for women and children. Oh, his son as preacher and lay-pastor was okay because he was a good guy helping people. But Grandad was a man and he didn’t need God.
All of that changed in 1979 when Granddad was taken ill into hospital with cancer. There on his deathbed, he recognised that he was weak, a sinner and needed Christ. My dad was able to lead him to the Lord. The next time my parents visited, grandad was unable to talk.
I would like to make three observations about Grandad’s testimony. First of all, you may feel that you have wasted your life. What would God want with you now? You’ve had your chance and you blew it. Grandad’s testimony is a reminder that even at a late stage in life, you can put your trust in Christ. Grandad’s testimony reminds us of the thief, dying on the cross next to Jesus being told “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”
Secondly, please don’t delay, don’t leave it too late to trust in Christ. Many people do put this off for another day. They want to enjoy life now. They think that they are doing quite fine without God. Granddad was given that last opportunity but it was a close run thing. A day later and the opportunity may well have gone. By the way, Granddad wasn’t that old by contemporary standards. We can assume we will always have one more sunny day, one more chance to trust in Christ but none of us knows if this day will be our last.
Thirdly, I want to say to other Christians that if we really believe in the saving power of the Gospel then ministry to people who are later on in life is worthwhile. Grandad’s name never got listed on any evangelist’s tally. He didn’t make it onto the membership roll of a church, he wasn’t able o volunteer his time to the church. In a results orientated day, his salvation would probably be well down the evangelist’s priority. List. However, that’s not how God works is it? I’m glad that God gave me Grandad the opportunity to repent and respond. Yet many older people will not get that responsibility. Will you prioritise praying for and witnessing to people who are later on in life?