When Jacob was finally made aware of the location of his son Joseph, he was allowed to take his family to Egypt. Upon arrival, Pharaoh asked Jacob, “How old are you?” (Genesis 47:8). In most cultures, this is a question that is considered rude to ask. Most older people don’t want to give their age. (While on Sabbatical leave in China a few years ago, I discovered that it is a common question there, and not considered to be rude. Elsewhere, don’t ask!) Better than the question of how long one has lived, is the question of how well a person has lived. I often wonder how old I would be if I didn’t know how old I was. Most days I would be younger. In fact, I often wonder if I am really as old as I am. More than length, life can be measured also by breadth, depth, and height. While you can do little to extend the length of life, you can do much to improve the breadth, depth, and height! I’m sure, with all Jacob had been through, he felt very old on the day the Pharaoh asked the question. I’ve had days like that also. On those days, better if I’m not asked the question. But, on most days, I’d rather add life to my years, than add years to my life. How old do you feel today?
Dr. Dan Crawford, Senior Professor at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, is the WestCoast Baptist Association’s Spiritual Life & Leadership Mentor. Follow Dan on Twitter @DrDanRC and Facebook www.facebook.com/dan.crawford.