Honoring the Elderly

Leviticus 19:32:

“You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD.” (NKJV)

My friend, Michael Newman made an interesting statement the other day on his blog (http://phoenixpreacher.net/): “One of the scandals of the American church is that it places little worth in senior saints. Thus, it has a lot of ideas and little wisdom.” I’d say that this pretty much sums up the attitude of many today within the multitude of “church movements.” “…lots of ideas, and little wisdom.”

Now, it is not necessarily true that wisdom comes with age. I’ve met a lot of elderly people over the years, that had no wisdom at all. (Dare I say, that some where just down right stupid? But to be fair, there are a lot of young men today that lack wisdom as well, so the coin has two sides).

When I first became a Christian, I read a passage (Leviticus 19:32) that struck me. Moses (by the Holy Spirit) is saying, that when in the presence of the elderly, you are to stand up as a show of respect. Unfortunately, most young people have been brought up without any training in manners or courtesy.

A while back, I held open a door for an elderly lady (she was a sweetheart), and she said to me, “Well, young man, your mother raised you right.” As I walked away with a smile on my face (I’m 59 years old) I realized that she did. To me, its just common courtesy. However, the problem with common courtesy, is that it is not that common anymore.

Now, honestly, that is the kind of attitude I expect in the world. Yet, more and more, churches are discounting the value of the elderly. Michael, on his bole, shares the story of a pastor who was forced out of his pastorate. The neighborhood demographic was changing and more and more Hispanic children were coming to the church. It did not sit well with the “old guard” (made up mostly of rich white folk), so they forced him out. The Denomination sent him into retirement, brought in another pastor, and the church soon died. A few weeks ago, the old pastor died, and the building where he preached and lived the Gospel so faithfully, was recently torn down.

I have heard of churches forcing out elderly pastors. You see, contemporary thinking is that you need a young, fresh, pastor with penalty of new ideas to pack the pews…sorry, I meant to say, to reach the lost…no, I didn’t.

The Bible equates reverence for the elderly as part of the fear of God. So, the Scripture is saying, that if you fear the LORD, you will honor the elderly with respect.

Here are a couple of other Scriptures that speak of the elderly:

Proverbs 16:31, “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness.” (NKJV)

Proverbs 20:29, “The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head.” (NKJV)

And listen to God’s attitude towards the elderly, Isaiah 46:4:

“Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.” (NKJV)

Don’t disrespect the elderly. God commands us to honor them. Often, the senior years are described as “The Golden Years;” they are often anything but (and that is another post).

If you honor God, honor the elderly and show them the respect of standing up in their presence.

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On another note, I posted Saturday Static yesterday, thinking it was Saturday (because I got Friday off this week. Just getting old, I guess 🙂

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1 Comment

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One response to “Honoring the Elderly

  1. This has been on my mind of late . . . good post!

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