This last week I wrote about the role of youth in the church. I answered the question is anyone Too Young For Church? And writing about that got me thinking. Youth are not the only segment of church population that unfairly are marginalized or flippantly brushed to the side.
Just as young people are vitally important to the body of Christ, so are those with many more years under their belts.
I once heard a wise pastor say, “if you have breath, God has a purpose for you. And if you are sitting in this service and are not yet dead, we, the Body of Christ, need you.”
I firmly believe that the elderly are truly invaluable to the church. Young people are foolish if they despise the wisdom, experience, fellowship, friendship, love, and guidance of their older brothers and sisters.
Proverbs 16:31 proudly proclaims, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor, it is attained in the way of righteousness.”
Leviticus 19:32 commands, “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.”
1 Timothy 5:1 instructs, “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father.”
Moses was 80 when he led the Israelites out of Egypt. He faithfully led them for an additional 40 years before he died.
Joshua was in his late 70s when he took over for Moses. He led the Children of God as they conquered the Promised Land until he was 110 years young.
Eunice and Lois, Timothy’s mother and grandmother are praised in 2 Timothy 1:5 for bringing up the young future pastor in a godly way.
Anna, who Luke in Luke chapter 2 describes as a woman “advanced in years” was so faithfully looking forward to The Messiah that she worshiped in the Temple day and night.
Elizabeth was well past her “child-bearing age” but because of she was righteous before God she was finally able to conceive and be the mother of John the Baptist who spectacularly prepared the way for Jesus Himself.
I could go on and on talking about all the incredible things that God has chosen to do through faithful elderly saints.
The point from last week remains. No matter what age you are, God can use you for His glory and for the good of the Body of Christ.
Just as the Body is deprived if young people are not championed, so too is the church deprived if the elderly are forgotten.
Once again, I bring us back to 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. We need to always remember that there is one Body, but many parts. Even if those parts have been around for quite a while, they are still just as much of an indispensable part of the Body as you are.
Young people, do not despise or ignore those older than you.
Old people, do not despise or ignore those younger than you.
Will generations frustrate one another, and will there be friction as we strive to understand one another? Yes, almost assuredly. But is that any excuse for us to huddle in our own age-cliques? No, not at all.
Together, can we work to be sure that Christ is glorified both in the church and on the earth? Absolutely.
I need believers younger than me. I need believers older than me. And we all need Jesus.