Outsider Lonely Dull or Open Loving Devoted?

Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
forsake me not when my strength is spent.
(Psalm 71:9)

     For many people, the word old creates images of inactive, nonproductive, out-of-touch individuals who have little to offer other than criticism, judgment, and burdensome needs. Except for babysitting grandchildren, cooking holiday dinners, or loaning tools, they are viewed as lacking significant purpose. Younger generations, and even senior adults themselves, may believe that their competencies and what they have to offer are less than those with fewer years under their belts. For many, withdrawing to a passive role seems to be expected and normal.

     Those beliefs need to be shattered!

Scripture has many examples of older individuals who contributed and served dynamically. Moses was about 80 years of age when God spoke to him through the burning bush. Joshua entered the Promised Land in his seventh decade. Noah, the third longest lived person in the Bible, was over 600 years old when he built the ark. Great-grandmother Naomi demonstrated strength in her later years after the loss of her husband and sons as she guided and helped Ruth. Timothy was strongly influenced by the teaching and guidance of his grandmother Lois. Sarah was 100 when she gave birth. The Apostle John, who lived to be ninety-nine, was believed to have written Revelation in his late sixties. Other encouraging verses specifically tell us:

  • Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. (Job 12:12)
  • Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. (Proverbs 16:31)
  • I said, ‘Let days speak, and many years teach wisdom.’ (Job 32:7)
  • So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. (2 Cor. 4:16)

There was and continues to be incredible gifts that older adults offer to all generations. Life experiences, skills, talents, and wisdom are abundant.

     Intergenerational connections within the church have multiple benefits. Age shouldn’t be a barrier to people learning about each other, enjoying time together, and serving each other as needed. The stories and life experiences (good and bad!) of older adults provide important lessons for younger generations. Older adults can gain rich insights and stay engaged in life by hearing about the life experiences and challenges of younger individuals. Together, generations interacting and serving together can deepen their walk with the Lord and serve Him in powerful ways.

One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
(Psalm 145:4