For the past 31 years I have been a part of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, and as a result have had quite a bit of exposure to the life and writings and sermons of A.W. Tozer.
Recently, the President of the Alliance, John Stumbo, gave a tribute to Tozer, on what would have been his 125th birthday. He quoted from a sermon that Tozer preached to the student body of Wheaton College in 1952. It set my head a spinning.
When I arrived in Moab, Utah in the summer of 1978, to pastor the fledgling Moab Christian Center, I was one month short of my 27th birthday, green as a gourd and wet behind the ears, so to speak. But, filled with a youthful passion and zeal for God and His church, a passion that I pray I will never outgrow. A passion of which Tozer spoke when addressing the students of Wheaton College on that day, 70 years ago.
“Oh God, wound me with an incurable homesickness so I’ll never settle down in this world and feel at home here—never feel at home here. I don’t care for many spirituals—I think white people have spoiled them—but there’s one spiritual I like to hear, and it says that I don’t feel at home in this world anymore. That’s what I mean. I just don’t feel at home anymore in this world.
“Now, you say, ‘That’s fine for an old fellow who’s lost half his hair and the other half has turned gray, but what about me? I’m young. I’m full of zing and zeal and all the rest. What about me?’
“I tell you again that anything God can do for an old man, God can do for a young man or a young woman, and don’t think age makes you spiritual. Age may simply make you intolerable, and it often does. I know what George Mueller meant when he prayed, ‘Oh God, don’t let me live to be a crotchety old man.’ And I have found people who knew God in their youth, and they’re still Christians. Their names are written yonder. They’re God’s children, but they’re terribly hard to live around. They’re Christians, all right. Thank God for justification and imputed righteousness because that’s the only hope those boys will ever have. They’ll get there all right, ‘Clothed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.’ But nobody wants to stand around them here very much because growing age and increasing years hasn’t sweetened them, it soured them, and they’re critical of everybody and everything. They forget they were ever young. They act like they were 50 years old when their mother brought them forth, and they forget youth, and they forget the mighty throbbing’s and yearnings and dreams that belong to the young. So, my friends, age doesn’t make you holy; only God makes you holy through Jesus Christ, the blood of the lamb, and the indwelling Holy Spirit.”