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Old Age: God's Blessing

by Michael Caputo

In His great wisdom, God saw fit to allow human beings to go through their allotted years in pre-established stages. After birth we move through the “innocent” childhood years, followed by the “turbulent” and “rebellious” teen years, after which we spend many years in the adult and “productive” years, until we finally enter the “sunset” years. Unless there is an unfortunate early death, all humans go through these stages and experience the challenges and the growth that result from them.

For many elderly in the world, the sunset years are a time of stagnation and discouragement. People who were involved in challenging and productive work find themselves unable to use their minds and talents as they once did, thus feeling much less useful and valued. Due to loss of family members or friends, as well as various ailments, depression often afflicts some elderly.

For converted Christians old age is not a time of stagnation, nor is it a time of chronic discouragement. The sunset years are for many elderly Christians a time of accelerated spiritual growth, and great joy and satisfaction. In fact, in many ways, Christian elderly become especially blessed, while many elderly in the world may feel empty and hopeless.

Having known many older Christians and having discussed their lives with them, I have concluded that there are several areas in which they are spiritually blessed. Here are some:

Wisdom

It cannot be bought. True wisdom cannot be learned in colleges and universities. Wisdom requires time and experiences.

It is the accumulation of foolish risk-taking, innocent mistakes and experiencing the consequences to all of these. It is the result of years of being tempered by life and being enlightened by a merciful God. Most Christians over sixty possess wisdom in very large amounts. They are blessed.

Patience

Older people have seen the result of being impetuous and impulsive. They have paid for jumping hastily into things. They are now calm and reflective, and longsuffering when younger ones are not.

They are willing to wait long and very patiently. To the more impulsive younger Christians patience is a trait they long for; to the elderly, patience has been learned. They are blessed.

Kindness

The kindest, sweetest people on earth are often elderly people. Their ways are gentle and their approach is tender. That is one of the reasons why their grandchildren love them so much.

They have seen how harsh ways produce little good; seen how much unkind words hurt. They shun aggressiveness and meanness and use a soft touch. They are blessed.

Humility

Most older people are humble. They have shed the pride of youth and they are framed by a realization that, indeed, as Solomon taught, “all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

Many look at their life’s accomplishments as having only relative importance. They can now see that what humans value is very perishable, and that ultimately only what God values in them has any lasting worth. They are blessed.

No More Illusions

There was a time when older people were young and they too chased illusions. They made money – some, lots of it. Some travelled far and wide. Some had power, prestige and respect based on position or wealth. They tasted what drives humanity and now see its worth as temporal and fleeting. They are no longer interested in illusions.

They are not attracted by power and prestige. Great wealth has no importance to them. They value their family, their friends and, most of all, their Creator. They are blessed.

Time to Socialize   Our elderly have time now for things they could not do before, because of the stress of work and responsibilities. They can visit leisurely with people of like mind, without any hurry.

They can visit their families and spend a lot of time with their children and especially their grandchildren. They can spend time with their Father in Heaven without hurrying or being rushed. They are blessed.

Time to Reflect

The time at their disposal gives them an opportunity to do something that is well known to increase spiritual growth exponentially: reflect, assess and repent. While before they mostly learned from prolonged experiences and, at times, repeated painful consequences, during the retirement years they have all the necessary time to dissect their whole life one detail at a time and learn what previously haste or pride prevented. Many insights that God tried to teach them before, can now jell easily and thoroughly.

The stubborn resistance of the past is no more. The hard stone has turned into soft clay, and more than ever they are responsive to God’s corrections. They are blessed.

Giving

Though Christian elderly may be limited by finances and health, they have the power to contribute to the church in a way that most younger Christians cannot: powerful and effective prayers.

Most of us who have been in the church for some time have come to recognize the wisdom of turning to our elderly and asking them to join us with their prayers in times of need.

The scriptures assure us that, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Most of our elderly are righteous and their prayers are sincere, fervent and effective. Their intercessions before God do “avail much,” and those who have asked them to partner with them in times of need know the difference that their prayers have made. God loves the elderly in His church. Their prayers are like sweet incense rising before His throne. He values their requests and the church reaps the benefits of their righteousness and intercessions. They are blessed.

In all of God’s churches there are many wonderful, and very special elderly that add so very much to our spiritual family. We love them because we know they love us. We admire them because they, in many ways, are what we wish to be.

We value them because we know they have much value before God. We savour our moments with them, because they offer us so much tenderness, kindness and gentleness to offer us. We are honored with their presence, because we know that we have among us many future god beings that are not far from receiving their glorious crowns.

We are blessed!

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