Full of Sap and Spring at Age 93

They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green…(Psalm 92:14)

This is my grandpa, J.J. Altrogge. He’s 93 years old, and he’s still bearing loads of fruit of Jesus. The picture is of him doing a Bible study at a retirement home, which is something he regularly does. For the last 15 years or so he has also painted birthday cards for every member of our church. That currently puts him at around 5,000 birthday cards. Lately he’s been bringing a down-and-out friend of his to church to hear the gospel. He also gives the guy rides to the grocery store to help him purchase groceries.

So what’s his secret? How is he still so fruitful for God at age 93? I think it’s because he is in regular fellowship with Jesus. Every morning he sits in his sunroom, surrounded by his paintings, sips on bad coffee (instant!), reads God’s word, reads a devotional, and takes time to pray. Nothing fancy. No extravagant, mystical rituals. Just time with Jesus.

I’m convinced that the more closely we stay connected to Jesus, the more fruitful we will be. The more we marinate in his word and open our hearts in prayer, the more we will blossom with spiritual fruit. That’s why Jesus said:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5 ESV)

My grandpa abides with Jesus which then leads to him being fruitful. It’s the same with my dad. His fruitfulness as a pastor for the last 30 years is because he is regularly abiding with Jesus. I want to be like my grandpa and my dad. I want to imitate them as they imitate Christ. There’s no gimmick or trick to being fruitful for the Lord. It’s simple. Abide with Jesus and then walk in the works he has prepared for you.

  • Frank Emrich

    What a great encouragement this is! I am 65 years old and have been the pastor of the same church for the past 30 years. Lately I have been thinking that I am all done, but reading this today challenges me to keep going, to keep serving Jesus. Thank you.

    • Stephen Altrogge

      You're not done Frank! Keep going!

  • Johanna Russell

    This was so inspiring. It reminds me of my father and my grandmother who is no longer with us. Everything rests in Jesus. It is inspiring and a blessing to have such godly examples. God bless!

    • Stephen Altrogge

      Thanks Johanna!

  • dee

    awsome steve

  • Frank. (Maine)

    JJ is my friend and dear brother in Jesus. For ten years we were in the same Church together and even though we are in different states, I try to remind him weekly by phone that he is my closest friend regardless of the miles. I am soon to be 76 and I have asked him to wait for me so I can catch up with him.
    I know this, I will never be separated from Him and I see Christ in Him from our first meeting. What a blessing from Jesus to me and my wife. Thanks Stephen for honoring Him….Altrogge's have something special from Christ in their lives!

    • Stephen Altrogge

      We miss you here Frank. I'm sure my grandpa does too.

  • Lori

    Thank you for sharing this. I am envious of the godly heritage you have to look up to! :-) However, I can learn from your godly heritage and I appreciate how simply you stated it. Sometimes we complicate things, but it isn't complicated. You represent your family and heritage well.

    • Stephen Altrogge

      Thanks Lori!

  • Elaine

    What a treasure he is! His love for the Lord, his family, and his church is so evident….and he's funny to boot! One of favorite people this side of heaven; we are grateful for him.