Monday Memo 1158: Words and Worship

This week, we focus on Jacob, the grandson of Abraham and Sarah, who was a hero of faith in his own right by following in his family's footsteps. Since this series is titled "Never Too Old for Purpose," let's go to one verse that described Jacob "when he was dying":

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff (Hebrews 11:21).

This verse tells us a lot so let's examine it point by point:

  1. Jacob was dying and so are you. None of us are getting out of here alive should the Lord tarry, so it is an event we all must and should plan for.
  2. Late in life, Jacob had to make a transition in the midst of a severe famine to a foreign land with all his family to see a son he thought was dead. His other sons had conspired to perpetuate a lie that Joseph was dead, causing their father much grief and sadness for more than two decades.
  3. Nothing had gone as tradition would dictate for Jacob's family. His eldest son did not get the blessing but his grandchildren proved to be a double blessing. His sons continued to be a disappointment and source of pain until the end.
  4. Jacob's strength was limited so that he had to use a cane to help him stand and move. But he used what he had in his last days, which was his breath and his mind, to produce words of blessing and to worship God.
  5. Jacob had to lean on his staff, not just because he was old but also because he was still weakened from when he had wrestled with the angel, who had dislocated his hip. At his weakest moment in the natural, he was the strongest in God.

Jacob took the best of the past and the present to pronounce a blessing for the future, proving that after all his own failures in life, he had chosen to put his trust in God. He focused on his grandsons and Joseph, reached back to build on what his father and grandfather had taught him about God's promise and pronounced a blessing on his family—his grandsons who had only met recently and his sons with whom he had every reason to be estranged.

Where is your focus if you are in your later years? Is it on what you can't do or on what you can still do? Are you doing all that you can to bless others or are you bitter or cynical in your latter years? Are you focusing on the future to help equip others (including your family), even though there's a chance you won't be there to see it? And if you're not yet "old," are you preparing for that day by doing all you can today to leave a purpose legacy for those you will leave behind?

Jacob was not a perfect man, but in many ways, his flawed life story had a happy ending. Yours can too if you follow his lead by using your last days to produce and be a blessing. You would do well to keep a record of God's faithfulness and then make sure that inventory is passed down to anyone who is interested to read and learn from your life. And then do your best to end your days with words of blessing for others and the worship of God. Have a blessed week!

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