Tuesday, December 12, 2006

World's Oldest Living Person Dies

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bolden, recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest living person at age 116 years, died December 11. She was born in Somerville, Tennessee in 1890 to freed slaves. The picture is of Lizzie at 114, being visited by her grandson, 74-year-old Jack Bolden.

Lizzie had 40 grandchildren, 75 great-grandchildren, 150 great-great-grandchildren, 220 3rd-great-grandchildren, and 75 4th-great-grandchildren. That’s hard to imagine.

How old are you? How old do you want to be before you die? Most people that I’ve spoken with through the years say that they don’t want to live to be 100. They fear broken health, nursing homes and being a burden to loved ones. I understand.

But, what if you could live well and continue to make a difference in this world at 100 years of age? I can remember when I was 21 reading in the Bible about the death of Moses at age 120. I remember thinking, “Wow, there’s a man that lived significantly and greatly impacted three generations (if you think about 40 years as a generation).” While reflecting on that scripture I felt impressed to pray, “God, would you give me 120 years like Moses. I’d like to serve you and make a difference in this world through three generations.”

Don’t misunderstand. I don’t think that I have a promise from God that I’ll live to 120 and have good heath and mental capacities, etc. In fact, I have such a peace in my relationship with God I would be very happy if I died tomorrow. But, I did feel impressed to pray that God give me a long life of serving Him and others.

That prayer and that vision have everything to do with how I pace my life and plan for my future. In my mind, reaching the age of 60 is not the time to “get serious” about retirement but rather it is mid-life!
For years I’ve prayed Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” That prayer is not about knowing how to count your days, but how to make your days count.

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