Theodor Geisel—better known as Dr. Seuss—published You’re Only Old Once! in honor of his 82nd birthday on March 2, 1986. It was one of the last books he wrote before his death in 1991.
The subtitle of the book reads: A Book for Obsolete Children. It is a poignant yet humorous examination of aging. The book’s dust jacket asks:
Is this a children’s book? Well . . . not immediately.
You buy a copy for your child now and give it to him on his 70th birthday!
Children of ALL ages will enjoy the book. It provokes both laughter and tears. While turning the pages, Dr. Seuss teaches us some important lessons about growing older.
I will let you define when “old” occurs. Like those warnings on car mirrors, however, it’s closer than it appears! One person told me, “I knew I was going to get old—I just didn’t realize it happened so young!” Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened!
I’m not sure who first said it, but growing older is NOT for sissies! However, we believe that our Lord is with us in every age and stage of life. Too often we look forward to the future or reminisce about the past rather than living for God in the present. The only time we can serve God is TODAY.
The Bible also challenges older adults to continue a life of fidelity and service. There is no earthly retirement plan for Christians. But the benefits are out of this world!
Psalm 92 declares:
They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming,
‘The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is not wickedness in him.’
I like another version of this Psalm that says the mature person of God is ever full of sap and green! An older man or woman of God is green and sappy—not a bad combination!
We are called to serve God in every age and stage of life. We honor those who are older than us for their wisdom and example. As pioneers of faith, they blaze the path into a future. In turn, we are pioneers for others.
You’re only old once—make the most of it while you can.