Book Review of Derek Prime's A Good Old Age
Some years ago, when I was a toddler, I learned the “ABC” song. One variation went: “A is for apple, B is for banana,” and so on through the entire alphabet. Derek Prime returns to this familiar technique but with senior believers in view. His most recent work, A Good Old Age: An A to Z of Loving and Following the Lord Jesus in Later Years, is an exemplary model of how Christians can look forward to finishing the race well. The target audience is geared to senior saints, even including a helpful larger font and concise chapters.
Derek Prime is retired from pastorates in London and Scotland where he ministered for over 30 years. He has penned numerous influential books for pastors (On Being a Pastor with Alistair Begg) and for the Christian layman (Tell Me About the 10 Commandments, Tell Me About the Lord’s Prayer, etc.). Derek and his wife, Betty, live in Edinburgh, Scotland where he has given his attention to writing and itinerate ministry since 1987.
Prime’s little book continues through the alphabet, detailing a different priority with each letter. One example where he definitely had my attention was with “Q” for Quickness. As we age, speed may not be our focus, yet he pointed out many areas of life where it is appropriate to be quick—quick to obey, quick to avoid strife, quick to examine ourselves, quick to pray, quick to speak of the Lord, quick to apologize, and quick to give God the praise. Quite obviously, we can add that James tells us to be “quick to hear” what God has for us, even in the midst of varied trials (James 1:19).
A Good Old Age is packed with wisdom as Prime outlines the priorities in walking with the Lord in our later years. Even though I do highly recommend this book for my senior friends, it is also an excellent read that would benefit the younger generation as well, as well as pastors who minister to the mature generation. Practically speaking, pastors and the usual readers of this blog can use this book as as encouragement to their senior members, even using it to read at the bedside of those who are sick or confined to their homes.
While so many books today are marketed to the younger generation, Prime reminds us that “every period of life has its appointed benefits and excellence,” since the “the glory of young men is their strength and the honor of old men is their gray hair” (Prov 20:29). The church of Jesus Christ needs the voice and wisdom of those who are mature in age, those filled with the knowledge of God’s truth and love for Christ so that they can speak into the lives of the younger generation (Titus 2:1–8).
This is definitely a book my senior friends will want to return to often; I’m already eager to read it again! The “ABC” song that you sang as a toddler will become more meaningful than you can imagine as you rehearse the rich truth of God’s promises in Christ.
Betty Lamey is a member of Grace Community Church, in Huntsville, AL, where she spends her time ministering to the younger women of the church. She is a mother of two grown children and a grandmother to four. One of her greatest joys is sitting under the weekly preaching of her pastor, Paul Lamey, whose every diaper she changed.