Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Senior Citizen Day – Care to the EldersGenesis 47:1-12
Vs 12: Joseph also provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their children.
The Bible exhorts us to honor, accept and care for the elderly. It is the important duty of today’s youth to care for the elderly and to accept them. ‘Care for the aged’ is a much-discussed topic now. The gerontology department scientifically studies their societal, physical, and moral problems and challenges. We should realize that the wrinkles in the faces of the aged are the experiences of their glorious past, the lines on their palms a sign of their hard work, their gray hairs a crown of their knowledge, and their faded eyes a lamp for the younger generation. The elderly are often neglected by the youth who struggle to live in the present with their busy schedules. But God uses senior citizens also. That is why the Bible teaches us that they will still bear fruit even in old age.
Joseph was very happy with the arrival of his family in Egypt. After the initial festivities, he decided to help them with the choice of a place to live. In view of Pharaoh's appreciation of Joseph, the probability was great that he would offer to his brothers' important offices in the service of the king, but this would expose them to idolatrous and corrupting influences. Thus Joseph instructed his brethren to tell Pharaoh that they were shepherds, even though they knew that the Egyptians considered shepherds to be a degrading activity. When the king knew that Joseph's brothers were shepherds, he gave him permission to establish his relatives in whatever place he deemed most convenient. Joseph chose Goshen as a suitable place because it was provided with good pastures and plenty of water. There his relatives could worship God far from the corrupting influences of Egyptian culture.
Even though King Solomon was called the wisest of wise, it is recorded that he had in his council a group of elderly to advise him. These anonymous men were behind the wisdom of Solomon. But when his son Rehoboam came to power he refused to listen to the advice of the wise and experienced elderly and went by the counsel of the younger men which led to many protests and problems in the country (1 Kings 12: 1-8; 2 Chronicles 10: 1-8). The Bible thus concludes the reign of Rehoboam- ‘But he rejected the advice of the elderly
The Bible reminds us to accept the elderly, spend time with them, love them, listen to their experiences, and stand by them. We should be able to care for the elderly who are weak and grieving and should be able to lead them to the fullness of hope. Out of the 10 commandments, only one comes with a promise- “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you (Exodus 20: 12). We should honor not just our parents but all elders, is what the Old Testament teaches. “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly, and revere your God. I am the Lord'' (Lev 19: 32). When Jesus criticized the false spirituality and the many man-made traditions, he quoted just this one command out of the 10 commandments (Matt. 15: 1-9; Mark 7: 10). He reinstated that it is the deeds that mattered and not the abundance of words. Paul called this as the first commandment with a promise (Ephesians 6: 1-4). Paul also advised Timothy to exhort the elderly as if he were his father (1 Timothy 5: 1).
Joseph had in mind the best for his family. In the same way, we should choose places of residence and professional activities that are favorable to our family and loved ones and far from the demoralizing customs of the world.
Lord Jesus, give us a mind to be caring and compassionate to the elderly.
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity (1 Timothy 5: 1,2)
Thought of the day
Marthoma Church of Greater Washington