God is not ageist. When he has work to do he chooses both the old and the young.

The first chapter of Luke is vibrant and alive, with the Holy Spirit choosing and visiting people in order for the plans of God to be realised. Whom does he call? Elizabeth and Zechariah, a couple described (in v.7) as ‘both very old’. And at the opposite end of the age spectrum ‘a young woman/girl’ pledged in marriage called Mary. So he calls the old. And the young.

This is very reassuring. No-one retires from the kingdom of God. We serve him to our last breath. I was reminded of this earlier today when I visited George Harper, one of the oldest church members of The Belfrey who is ill in hospital. It was a pleasure to be with him, to share with him, to receive a prophetic word from him, and to pray for him. He told me he will keep praying, until the Lord takes him home.

Similarly no-one is too young to be used by God. Children and teenagers are not excluded and can be used in all sorts of wonderful ways, if they’ll let the Holy Spirit guide them. I’ve seen this on numerous occasions with my own children and with young people at church who want to play their part in serving God’s transformation of the North.

God’s deep desire to use all ages was prophesied before Christ by the prophet Joel (and quoted by Peter in the very first sermon on Pentecost):
‘In the last days God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your young men will see visions,
Your old men will dream dreams’ (Acts 2:17).

But here in Luke 1 we see tangible examples of this prophecy coming true in the lives of real people in real situations.

So let’s hear none of this ‘I’m too old’ or ‘I’m too young’ language. The Holy Spirit is truly for ‘all’ people, regardless of age. And that includes you.