In Biblical times, the elderly were crown jewels of the family. Grandparents and great-grandparents were greatly respected and sought out for their wisdom. In fact, Leviticus 19:32 parallels respecting the elderly and revering God.
You can’t really get any higher than that.
Ironically, in twenty-first century America, we don’t see that level of respect much, especially when an elderly person goes into a nursing home. Placement in a nursing home is often necessary, but ask any nursing home staff, and they will tell you many of their residents seldom have visitors. Imagine the atmosphere in a nursing home if friends and families showed up regularly to spend quality time honoring, revering, and celebrating the elderly.
Even when our elders are no longer able to live alone or physically take care of themselves, as Christians, we can honor them by seeking their counsel and showering them with encouragement that they are valuable. The elderly often have much wisdom to contribute to anyone willing to stop and listen.
My great-grandmother Alice spent the last five years of her life in a nursing home. Already in her late 80s, she was one of the few people I’ve ever seen truly thrive under these circumstances. During the 1970s, nursing homes differed from today, and she shared a room with four other people. Petite and spry, my great-grandmother helped care for her roommates and brought a ray of sunshine to those around her. She had been raised to show Southern hospitality to others, and being in a nursing home didn’t change her mindset.
Oh, imagine the people who stopped to chat with Great-Grandma Alice to discover the secret to her joy.
I can tell you what it was—Jesus.
She had a radiance about her that came from an inner peace and the lesson learned of being content in all her circumstances. She’d lived a tough life being born in 1889, living in South Georgia, marrying, and raising several children. Even with very limited education, she loved to read her Bible and share her joy with others.
In Luke 2:36-38, Anna, the prophetess, lived most of her life in the temple after becoming a widow at a young age. She spent her time praying and fasting. She knew unequivocally that Jesus was the Messiah as soon as she laid eyes on him. What an encouragement she must have been to Mary and Joseph on that day!
The Apostle Paul describes himself as an old man in Philemon 9. Yet he ministered to those around him even as a prisoner in a Roman jail the last two years of his life.
No matter the physical limitations of the elderly, whether restricted by their body or in their surroundings, they have God-given value and wisdom.
Consider for a moment the blessing that would flow both ways if we took the time to “stand up in the presence of the aged” (Leviticus 19:32).
2 Corinthians 4:16 says, “we are all wasting away, yet as Christians we are renewed daily.”
The passage inspires us not to lose heart as we age. Encourage the elderly in your life to remain active in their faith regardless of their physical boundaries.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home or even home-bound due to their age or physical limitations, what do you do to make them feel special? How can you encourage them to live out their faith despite their circumstances? Leave us a comment.
Ask God Today Ministries has decided to make a difference in as many seniors’ lives as possible. We will be collecting items that elderly persons may need in “Senior Bags of Love,” which we will be distributing in the inner city of Spartanburg County in December to selected number of people in need, and we could use your help.
Here’s what we’re looking for to get started:
Shoes of all sizes
You can mail items to:
C/O ASK GOD TODAY MINISTRIES
P.O. Box 161625,
Boiling Springs, SC 29316
Thank you for helping us reach out to seniors in need!
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- Time Trials and the Effect on Our Spirituality - January 25, 2017
- Christmas Traditions and Grief: The Empty Seat at the Table - December 30, 2016
- Finding Peace In The Holidays - November 23, 2016
- Do We Value Our Elderly? - October 26, 2016
- Life Is Fleeting: Are You Living It To Please God—Or Man? - September 28, 2016