I didn’t know lion cubs are born with spots—brown rosettes—on their body. Almost like a leopard.
A funny cartoon shows Daddy lion talking to his young cub.
“Don’t worry, Son,” the lion said.
“They’ll go away as you get older. They’re just youth spots.”
Youth spots are cute, but what about age spots?
Poet Elaine Bishop wrote, in “Poems of Hope and Humor,”
“When I woke up this morning, I found another spot.
I do not know what’s causing them, but I sure have a lot.
Grandma called them liver spots; that does not appeal to me.
Now I’m hearing age spots; Oh, Lord, that could not be.
I’d pass them off as freckles but that would not be true,
And I must always tell the truth whatever else I do.
As long as I’ve no name for them and I’m still in the dark,
I’ve decided I’ll call them my special beauty mark.” *
I always said I wanted to grow old like my Grandma Dorothy (pictured here). Yes, she had wrinkles and age spots, but her gentle spirit and kind heart always glowed. She loved Jesus and it showed!
I just didn’t expect to see my own wrinkles and age spots so soon!
As I sat in church one Sunday, I stared at my arm, counting the age spots: 1 – 2- 3 – 4. Oh, please! Enough already!
As I sat there, only half listening to the preacher at that moment, I was hearing another message. My age spots were “speaking” to me, and they taught me five important lessons. Brilliant lessons!
1. GET SMART: Use Sunscreen!
I haven’t been wise. Although I wasn’t a “sun baby,” since moving to California I’ve soaked up lots of sun just in daily activities. And I haven’t used sunscreen.
Damage is apparent, but it’s not too late to start. (I hope.)
I’ve read lots of home remedies for age spots (like a mixture of brown rice, agave nectar and lemon juice), and the market is flooded with potions for a price. (I’ll probably get emails from them!) But the truth is, we all get them. Some more, others less. We need to get smart and use the sunscreen!
2. SEE REALITY: Beauty IS More than Skin Deep.
My Grandma is in heaven now, but I remember her true beauty. Whenever I looked at her face, I saw more than wrinkles and age spots. Her beauty truly was more than skin deep. Her beauty was deep within and it blessed all of her family and friends.
In extolling the virtues of the noble woman, the writer of Proverbs says, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised” (Proverbs 31:30 HCSB).
Matthew Henry wrote, “…the fear of God reigning in the heart, is the beauty of the soul; it lasts for ever.” **
I want that beauty of the soul, don’t you?
3. FACE TRUTH: You’re Terminal.
Hollywood celebrity Valerie Harper, diagnosed with brain cancer, said, “We’re all terminal; none of us are getting out of this alive.”
We’re all terminally ill with a disease named “death.”
Christians don’t need to worry about this fact. To be “in Christ” and to die is “gain” (Philippians 1:21). We go directly into the presence of the Lord (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8). Paul said he had a desire “to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).
4. REDEEM TIME: Don’t Lose Opportunities.
Although we don’t know the final date for our tombstones, we have today to love and serve the Lord and people.
We need to “redeem” (buy up) every day, looking for opportunities. How?
There are many ways to redeem our remaining days. Here are just a few:
- We can awake from our sleep and understand the times (Romans 13:11).
- We can look carefully how we behave and be wise (Ephesians 5:15).
- We can make the best use of our time (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5b).
- We can seek the will of God each day—our marching orders (Ephesians 5:17).
- We can be filled with God’s Spirit (Ephesians 5:18b) and under His control.
- We can do all God calls us to do with all our might while there is still time! (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
- We can set our mind on heavenly things, because really, the truth is we are “dead” to this life—with our lives alive in and “hidden with Christ” (Colossians 3:1-3).
Don’t live in such a way that your final day is filled with regrets. Where you have sinned, confess and repent … and then move on! God has much to accomplish through you until your dying breath!
5. REMEMBER HOPE: You’re Promised Another Body!
While the Christ-follower’s soul goes to be with the Lord, the body is changed later (1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16). Our bodies are raised “imperishable”—perfect and free from all death and decay (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).
This is part of the blessed hope (Titus 2:13-14) of the Christian’s eternal life. Our mind can be in the beginning stages of transformation now (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16). But someday our lowly body will be transformed to be like our Savior’s glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21).
Our new body will never wear out or grow old, never get sick or decay and never die!
And no more age spots!
Which of these lessons from age spots speaks to you today? In light of your aging, how will you cooperate with the inner transformation God wants to produce in you?
* “Seeing Spots” by Elaine Bishop, Poems of Hope and Humor (AuthorHouse, 2013), p. 9 (Emphasis mine).
** Matthew Henry Commentary on Proverbs 31:10-31