On July the 20th I celebrated my 65th birthday. Does that mean I’m “old”? Only someone who has reached my age knows how young I feel! It seems to me as if only a year has passed since I arrived in Israel at the age of 24. Do I have a different perspective than when I was 24? Absolutely! I am much more realistic about the rate at which we grow old and reach the end of life. When I was in my twenties, I didn’t really believe that I wouldn’t live forever. Today, I can see evidence of the aging process: wrinkles, balding, etc. However, unless I look in the mirror, I keep thinking that I am a twenty-year-old!
What, in my opinion, are the advantages of being 65? One advantage is that today I better appreciate life’s shortness, I am much more focused than when I was young. I waste less time on the unimportant. In addition, I have more of a sense of the need to serve others: I feel that I have ingested enough data from my teachers and now am obligated to produce something for the benefit of others.
At 65, one is often at the height of one’s productive years. Within four months of reaching 65, Lord willing, I will have presented four papers at congresses of the Society of Biblical Literature, something that might ordinarily take four years to accomplish. (Two have already been presented [in July in Groningen, The Netherlands], and the other two will be presented in November in San Antonio, TX.)
I hope that the things I have learned during many years of study in Israel may now bless others. Who knows? I just might live to the biblical 120 years of age, like Moses and Aaron (Gen. 6:3; Num. 33:39; Deut. 34:7). Although that’s not too likely, I pray that, in my remaining years, I will be a diligent, faithful servant of God, and that, with his help, I will accomplish all that he expects of me.