Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress. (James 1:27)

Melting snow was ankle deep in the streets of London in January 1785, but for five days John Wesley slogged through the slush to collect money for the poor. “My feet were steeped in snow-water from morning till evening,” he noted in his journal.

As a result, he raised two hundred British pounds, but he also caught a “violent flux” that sent him to bed under a doctor’s care. Wesley was eighty-one years old at the time.

It’s a mistake to measure age by calendar years, especially in spiritual terms. Some souls are old before their time, and others are young in spirit if not in body. They value the heritage of the past but refuse to live in it. They’re excited about what the Lord is going to do, not just about what he’s already done. They enjoy the company of young people. They set an example for succeeding generations. They look forward to heaven, but not before earth’s work is finished. Meanwhile, they model the Christian walk for the rest of us.

James mentioned orphans and widows in this passage as representatives of all who are in need, whether young or old. Actually, like Wesley in the snowdrifts, Christians who qualify for age-related discounts themselves are often the greatest servants of all. Their needs are real, but their focus is on the needs of others. Thank God for them!

Whatever your age, let God renew your youth.

Bob Black is professor emeritus of religion at Southern Wesleyan University, where he served for thirty-two years. He co-authored the denominational history, The Story of The Wesleyan Church.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.