During World War II Frank Loesser wrote a popular song entitled “They’re Either Too Young Or Too Old.” It had to do with a GI who was concerned about the girl he loved and the competition back home. In the song she assures him he has nothing to worry about— “What’s good is in the army; what’s not will never harm me.” She describes them as “either gray or grassy green,” and concludes: “I’m yours alone to have and to hold; they’re either too young or too old.”
I want to change the lyrics just a little to say, “You’re never too young or too old.” How true this is when it comes to living a worthwhile life. When it comes to achieving goals of value and making a contribution to the world in which we live, we’re never too young or too old.
Byron Keats and Shelley died at 25, 30, and 36, respectively. Yet what great poetry they left to our world.
Michelangelo sculpted his statue, The Boy David, and painted the Madonna and Child when he was 26.
William Shakespeare completed 10 of his greatest dramas before he was 32.
Cyrus McCormick invented the reaper at the age of 22.
Jesus began preparing for his life’s work at the age of 12 in the Temple. He began his ministry at 30 and it lasted for three short years. But no one has affected the life of mankind as much as has that “One Solitary Life.” You’re never too young. Benjamin Franklin helped write the Declaration of Independence when he was 70 and served as a member of the Constitutional Convention at age 81. Golda Mier became Prime Minister of Israel at 71 and served until she was 76. Grandma Moses lived to be 101. She took up painting when she was 78.
Just two years before the legendary head coach at Penn State, Joe Paterno, turned 80 his Nittany Lions won the Big Ten Conference. Next year they went 9-4 and beat Tennessee in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day.
And we could go on and on. Avery Brundage headed up the Olympic Games until he was 85 and Col. Sanders began his fried chicken enterprise after he was 66. You’re never too old.
Look and you will find the pages of history filled with the names of both young and old who have met life’s challenges triumphantly. God created each of us for a purpose. He calls us to give of our best and to make our lives count for good.
And it is never too early or too late to begin. It stands eternally true—you are never too young; you are never too old. Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.