Your Age Is Just A Number To God

People approach getting older with trepidation. Not Pastor Jan Owbridge, who just turned 70. She shares that when you serve God, He’ll give you something to do — no matter your age. 

I recently passed my 70th birthday and it was almost a surprise to me! How did I get here? I don’t feel as if I am 70. I keep telling people that 70 is the new 40!

God has no problem with age. He reassigned me in the last year – in fact, in the latter half of 2021 He told me: “2022 is when you are off the bench!”

I had heard a message a couple of years previously that a player ‘on the bench’ was still a member of the team. I told the preacher I felt that’s where I was. He said: “Jan, you won’t be there long!”

After I heard from the Lord, I waited for Him to open doors, which He did! I was invited to preach at a ladies’ conference, which led to speaking at a couple of churches; I wrote some books and was invited to do a TV interview to promote one of them, which led to an invitation to speak at a women’s conference. Throughout 2022 I have travelled and preached and generally been busier than ever.

Previously I was the principal of a Bible college in London, and the Lord began to speak to me about putting it online. This led to REAL LIFE Bible College (www.reallifebiblecollege.com).

Did you know there is no word for ‘retirement’ in Hebrew? I’m glad about that. I am more excited about what God is doing than ever before, and I know that He hasn’t finished with me yet.  

I’m told that the inventions that have impacted humankind for good have all been instigated by someone aged 65 and over. Those of us who are a little more advanced in years have plenty to offer. When you’ve served the Lord as long as I have, you learn a thing or two.   There is a wisdom that only comes with age and experience, and I feel I still have a lot to give to the body of Christ.

I am not someone who looks down on youth and modern ways of doing things – I actually embrace them – and believe that every generation has something to offer.

Moses wasn’t a spring chicken when God called him to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt’s bondage; and Abraham and Sarah were certainly not young when the Lord called him to be the father of many nations. We could recount many biblical accounts where age was simply not an obstacle for God.

My husband is 78 next month and together we are more excited about life than ever. We are never bored with life. We are extremely active in our church, running Legacy — a gathering for the over 55s. We both serve on the host team regularly, and recently I have taken on the role of Service Team Leader – organising all the teams that serve the church for Sundays. Of course, we are involved in the regular meetings in church too. On top of this we are still involved in a business, which keeps us busy. We have two children (closer to 50 than 40 now) and five grandchildren.

We don’t have time to get old!

Age is, for me, very much a state of mind. I realise the body is ageing but I definitely don’t believe in ‘growing old gracefully’! Kenneth Hagin once said: “If the barn door needs painting, paint it!” I made the decision to lose weight by changing my lifestyle when I was 66, determined not to hit 70 overweight. I keep healthy and reasonably fit. We walk and go tenpin bowling to help that. I don’t feel 70, so I don’t act 70. I know it isn’t easy for everyone. Many people suffer with all kinds of ailments — and I don’t make light of that — but I do believe that much of what we suffer, we bring on ourselves by our expectations. I don’t expect to get sick, so if sickness hits my body it comes as a surprise and I reject its right to remain.  

I made the decision many years ago to get my mouth in line with the Word of God. When someone asks how I am, I always says “Great, thanks. I’m always great!” The Bible says we create our world with our words, so I choose to create a world where I am happy, healthy and long-lived. Sometimes it would be easy to look at what is happening in the world around us and feel down or depressed, but I choose to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

To help others have a brighter outlook I penned a 30-day ‘reflections’ booklet, called From a Pastor’s Pen, which was so well received, I followed it with another one: More from a Pastor’s Pen, which covers another 30 days. 

Actually, at the beginning of this year, the Lord gave me a few books, including Covenant Authority, which has been a favourite subject of mine for many years. I believe if people understand the covenant they have with Almighty God, the devil will never have his way with them again.

When God created us, He created perfect hardware and software. Then a virus got in — the devil — and caused problems in the workings. Jesus came back and gave us God’s Factory Reset — the title of another book and a guide to reloading the correct software with instructions for its use.

The final offering on the book scene this year is a rewrite of a previous book which had sold out and was out of print: Word on Woman. This book hits all the Scriptures the men don’t want to look at, in case the women are right, and which the women don’t want to look at, in case the men are right! The Lord told me if only men are set free, it’s only half a truth; if only women are set free, it’s only half a truth; the whole truth will always set the whole body free!

So why am I saying all this? Maybe you have felt like you are too old to follow the call of God and need some encouragement. A friend of mine, in her mid-seventies, discovered her call to evangelism. She is on the streets reaching out to the lost, travelling to Africa to preach on the streets, and living life abundantly. She made up her mind not to allow obstacles stacked up by convention and people to scupper her call.

Pastor Jan Owbridge is a speaker, author and a Legacy Life pastor at Alive Church, Lincoln Central. Download a free copy of her book, Reprogramming Your Mind God’s Way, at www.janowbridge.com

Keep The Faith tips on ageing gracefully:

  1. Keep active. Walking is a great exercise to undertake as you get older. It’s inexpensive and easy on the joints.
  2. Eat healthily. You know the score: stay away from huge amounts of carbohydrates, eat your veg, fruit, protein, and drink plenty of water to keep hydrated.
  3. Don’t say No to fresh experiences; there are always new things for you to see and do
  4. Stay connected. Maintain your relationships with friends and family, and don’t be fearful of building new friends.
  5. Stimulate your mind; read interesting books; do word puzzles that stretch and challenge your brain; take a course and learn something new.
  6. Continue to trust and believe God. Ask Him to increase your faith and show you what new assignment He has planned for you at this mature stage of your life.  

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