Peter divides man’s life into two time periods. He speaks of the “past lifetime” (verse 3) and “the rest of the time.” The old life, the “past lifetime,” he compares to the life of sin, its vices and lusts. Christ’s suffering and death make it possible to draw a line through the old life and to begin a new life. The Word invites man to live the remaining “time” differently than before; he should live according to the will of God.
“The rest of the time” speaks of the rest of our life, the still remaining time, i.e. as long as God gives us life and allows us to live on this earth. “The rest of the time” lasts until the day of our death. What comes after that is what we call eternity.
Obviously, nothing can be changed about our past. If it is forgiven, we can say with Paul: “Forgetting those things which are behind” (Philippians 3:13). “The rest of the time,” however, is given to us by God and is at our disposal. It is not to be frittered away or even lived indifferently but is to be redeemed (Ephesians 5:16). It is good to consider this thought. What do we do as seniors with the time we have left? We don’t have much time, so we want to be all the more careful with the thought of “the rest of the time.”
There is a danger that our gaze is focused more on the past than on the rest of the time.” This can even go one step further, that one even “lives” in the past. Why is this so? A devotional page recently came into my hands, and it shines a little light on this thought. “It is probably related to the increasing loneliness and also that old people like to talk a lot. Mostly they talk about themselves and about the past. They no longer understand the present, and the future only seems dark and bleak to them. The basic tone of their talk is the lament: Everything was better in the past. That is over now. And today everything is getting worse and worse. This attitude is understandable when one realizes that life is declining and the decrease in strength is progressing.” It must be remembered that the past is important to us. After all, we have spent most of our lives in it. In our best years, we were in the forefront, in positions of responsibility and decision-making. Taking that into account, we also understand why everything was better back then, and we call them the “good old days.” Of course, we may remember the past without living in it. It is important that we always find our way back to the present, because that is what it is all about when we talk about “the rest of the time.”
I suppose you know this, but let me remind you again anyway. The same God who was with us in the past has promised to be with us also in “the rest of the time.” Yes, the same God who helped in the earlier years will help us in 2022. He presents Himself to us in His Word as the “unchanging God” (Malachi 3:6). In this respect, we are secure. Cling to that; don’t forget it. God is not only a God of the past times but also a God of today and tomorrow. Even “the rest of the time” we may confidently place in His hands. He does not abandon us.
When you are a senior citizen, the first rays of the setting sun can already be seen on the horizon. Too much time is no longer available to us. Why not, once again, use one’s strength with a joyful heart so that God can still receive the glory even through our aging? Paul may have thought of this when he wrote, “according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20).
Let me give you some recommendations on how best to deal with “the rest of the time.” By doing so, you will help yourself, honor your God, and also become a blessing to your descendants.
1. Live purposefully. Detach yourself slowly from earthly possessions. No one takes anything with them. Speak more of God than of possessions.
2. Trust the Word of God. Cling to God’s promises. Let them be your constant companion.
3. Gratitude, not complaining and lamenting, is what makes Christianity attractive. Do you know the song “Let us give thanks instead of complaining…?” Gratitude appeals. Complaining repels. If complaining is necessary, do as the songwriter suggests, “Be true to God, He’ll help you through, but never forget to pray” (Worship Hymnal of the Church of God, song no. 273).
4. In conversations with others, make it a point to consciously encourage the other person. Radiate joy. Give encouragement. Talk about God’s faithfulness, answers to prayer, and heaven. You could put a little note next to your phone on which you have written “Encourage others.” It gives every call some purpose.
5. Pray for the various mission branches. You have probably never had as much free time as you have right now. Take advantage of the time and pray. Pray for others. Pray for your pastor. Include the children and youth.
6. Live with God. Talk to Him even during the day. When you have been in the presence of God, others will notice. You will be like Moses, whose face shone after he talked with God (Exodus 34:29).
“The rest of the time” – is it 2 years, or 5, maybe even 10 years? No one knows how long the span of his life is. What we do know, however, is that it is decreasing. Soon we will see Jesus. My brother and sister, with God’s help and His grace, let us once again consciously live with the Lord for others. I want to. What about you?