FIRST-PERSON: Rooting for the older guy

Phil Mickelson celebrates after winning the final round at the PGA Championship golf tournament on the Ocean Course, Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Kiawah Island, S.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Phil Mickelson celebrates after winning the final round at the PGA Championship golf tournament on the Ocean Course, Sunday, May 23, 2021, in Kiawah Island, S.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

I was a nervous wreck!  How did people watch this all the time?!  I tried not to pray; it was a game, after all. A stressful, nail-biting game.

My beloved and I were watching the PGA Championship on Sunday.  Phil Mickelson was strokes away from becoming the historical winner.  They kept talking about “old this” and “old that” How  old is Phil Mickelson, I Googled.  Fifty.  That is NOT that old!

I’m typically a fan of the underdog, but suddenly I was an interested fan of the “older-dog”!

Golf fans were skeptical.  “Can he do it?” they whispered loudly into their microphones.  Many thought he couldn’t.  “He’s past his prime,” the naysayers predicted.

Brooks Koepka was pressing down on him at just two strokes behind.  Fans at home and at the golf course were watching so closely they could see every drop of Phil’s sweat.  We all held our breath as he addressed the ball, and then hit into the sand…and into the grass.  It’s too much pressure, I thought as I tried not to look.

“Will he use the chipping wedge?” I inquired of my beloved.  (It’s the only club I know but still couldn’t pick it out of a bag.)  And somehow, out of the thick grass, Phil chipped or something and the ball came flying onto the green, very close to the tee.  A few putts later he became the oldest player to win a championship!  I don’t know Phil personally, but Sunday, I was a fan for sure.

I LOVE when people over 50 do big things.  That may seem like “old” by society’s standard, but not God’s.  In the Bible, some people were just getting started at that age.

Moses was 80 when he went to Pharoah, proclaiming “Let my people go!”  Imagine bloody water, frogs, flies, hail, lice, and darkness at the age of 80!

Noah would have a thing or two to say about doing big things in the golden years of life having become a dad at 500, then an ark builder and cruise director at 600.  (We all know that God was really directing the boat.) 


One of my favorite older Bible men is Caleb.  A spy at the spry age of 40, he’d just spent 45 hard years in the wilderness.  Standing on the edge of the Promised Land, he wasn’t asking for an easy life or final years of rest.  In dividing up the new land, he spoke to his fellow spy/now leader Joshua:  “So here I am today, eighty-five years old!  I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said,” Joshua 14:10-12.  It’s probably a good time to tell you that the Anakites were…GIANTS. 

Isaiah 46:4 reminds me:  “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He Who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”  I’ll take Him up on that!

Jeremiah 29:11 has encouraged me for decades:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and future.”  It’s funny:  I realize now that no age limit is mentioned.

Whether we’re 30, 40, 50 or more, let’s keep serving God.  Let’s run the race He has set before us, sharing the Good News until our last breath!

Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at               


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