No Ageism with God.
Psalm 92: 14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age.
It has been reported that 60% of respondents in the "World Values Survey" analysed by WHO reported that older people are not respected. More than 83 000 people in 57 countries took part in the survey which assessed attitudes to older people across all age groups. The lowest levels of respect were reported in high income countries.
"This analysis confirms that ageism is extremely common. Yet most people are completely unaware of the subconscious stereotypes they hold about older people,"
There are many people today that see the elderly as obsolete and not useful in society.
Some think the elderly should not be working, teaching, or driving, etc, unless it benefits them, of course.
It appears sometimes that elderly people are only good for child minding and school runs.
There are many derogatory terms used for the elderly.
Old dear: an old woman, especially one who is confused. This phrase is sometimes used as an insult.
Negative attitudes towards the elderly can have a significant effect not only on the elderly themselves but on society in general.
It can promote a feeling of worthlessness and be responsible for a lack of self esteem. The older one gets, the more they feel less valuable and not needed in society. Sometimes they can feel quite invisible.
This seems to be an increasing trend in the world today.
In past times, when families tended to stay close to each other, parents and grandparents were part of an extended family, usually in the same house, the same street or at least in the same location. With the movement of
labour comes separation of families.
Older people are very often left to themselves. Many times I have deliberately sat on a bench whilst my wife does some shopping, I engage in conversation with an older person and very often, I am the only person they have spoken to. It is increasingly common to be lonely even in a crowd.
It seems that in the modern world, age means burden and not, wisdom or experience.
Whilst this attitude prevails in the secular world, it should never be seen in the church, the body of believers.
The body of Christ should be a family unit, each looking out for every member, old and young alike. It is imperative that we recognise age as an asset and not a barrier.
The older members of the fellowship are indispensible. Their world experiences are invaluable to the younger of the fellowship.
When we examine the scriptures, we find that many “elderly” people were used mightily by God.
The Bible is full of stories that have older women as the heroines. While the younger women of the Bible such as Mary, Esther, and Ruth tend to take centre stage, the senior characters are just as important. Focusing only on the younger women of the Bible can make senior Bible study or ministry members feel left out, or as if their purpose in God’s kingdom is over.
Highlighting some of the Bible’s most prominent older women at your next meeting or with a conversation with an elderly friend can be an excellent way to shed light on the continuing influence of senior church members.
2 Timothy 1:5, we learn that Timothy’s faith came from his upbringing by his godly mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois. Years of influence from these older women are what gave Timothy the strong and sincere faith the Apostle Paul so revered.
2Ti 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
The Book of Ruth is one of only two books in the Bible named after female characters. Naomi is a strong, older female in the Book of Ruth.
Luke 2:21, 25, 36: Simeon and Anna arrive at the ritual of cleansing , separate from one another, seemingly led by divine direction. Luke provides three verses (36-38) describing Anna as a prophetess and very old, outranking Simeon as a woman deserving the honour given to the elderly in the ancient Mediterranean world.
Elizabeth was married to Zacharias, and as a couple they were “righteous before God.” Yet, Elizabeth and Zacharias were childless in their old age. While in the temple of the Lord in Luke 1:6-15,
Luk 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,
9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
Many men also, who were advanced in years were used mightily by God.
Abraham was 75 years old when God called him, and he was 86 years old when Ishmael was born. We are told in Genesis 16:15-16:
And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael. And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.
Abraham was 99 years old when Isaac was born to Sarah his wife was 90 years.
Moses was 80 years old when God called him to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt.
Caleb was 85 years old and still fighting with Joshua.
John the Apostle of Jesus was in his 90s when he was on the Isle of Patmos for the testimony of Jesus. God was still using him.
It appears that there is no retirement age with God.
It is important that the fellowship benefits from the wisdom and experiences of the older men and women in our churches.
God has been dealing with them a lot longer than the young.
If God saw fit to challenge, encourage and bless the elderly over the years in our fellowship, surely the younger members can be blessed by their knowledge and wisdom.
Psa 92:12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
15 To shew that the LORD is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
Tit 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
Tit 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
Tit 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
Tit 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Do not despise the elderly.
Pro 15:20 A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.
Pro 19:26 He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.
Pro 20:20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
Pro 28:24 Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.
Pro 30:11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.
Lev 19:32 You shall rise up before the grey headed and honour the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the LORD.
What can we learn from elderly Christians.
Job 12:12 says “wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.”
In 80 years you pick up a lot of information of how to do things and how not to do things.
Sitting at the feet of those who have trusted God when life seems impossible is a priceless value.
Especially were Bible knowledge come in. Think of how much knowledge can be stored in a lifetime of Bible study. This should not be ignored. Many times, I have thought when an older brother goes to be with the Lord, I wish I had asked more. In these days of the Bible being neglected, it is imperative that we sit at the feet of the elders and gain from their knowledge and experience.
Senior adults are senior adults because they have endured the hard knocks of life. Caleb had survived the slavery of Egypt, the middle eastern desert, and scars of war. We need examples of people who have faced the giants of life and have conquered them. Whether it’s surviving the financial pinches in life, or aches and pains of the body, or the stress of parenting young children, seniors are a great model of endurance.
We still have amongst us, many elderly people who have experienced hardship because of the war, with great testimony of how God helped them through the troubled times. It would be a great loss if our young do not benefit from these testimonies and experiences.
The meaning of the name, Caleb: Hebrew C-L (Cuf + Lamed) = all or whole. L-V (Lamed + Vet) = heart.
Therefore, CALEB (or COLEV as pronounced in Hebrew) actually means "whole hearted".
Six times in the Old Testament Caleb is describes as “wholeheartedly following the Lord.” His legacy is his faith. Trusting in God to do what we cannot do for ourselves is the best gift we can give to each other. Hearing the stories of God’s faithfulness and goodness in our lives are what encourages us to keep trusting in what the scriptures teach us about God and His power to redeem and save us. If only there were more testimony in our fellowships of God’s goodness and keeping power.
All of the values listed above are useless to us if they’re not passed on. We need older believers to walk along side younger believers.
Life is hard enough to figure out sometimes, it’s even harder when you have no one to help you along the way. Caleb spent 45 years walking (literally) with a generation that was at least 20 years younger than himself. Pouring into others is what helping other’s follow Jesus is all about.
May God help us to love and respect and look up to those of our
number who are in their senior years.