Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Senior Citizen Day – Care to the EldersProverbs 16: 1 -33
Verse 16:31 “Gray hair is crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life “.
The Book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings primarily by King Solomon, the wisest king who ever lived in the history of the world. It contains practical advice on topics such as the need for wisdom, the danger of bad companions, the requirement of being compassionate towards the needy, the dangers posed by the tongue, the hazards of sexual immorality, and the foolishness of the lazy. The overall theme of the book is ”The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.
Long life - a blessing from God:
In Proverbs 20:29, we read that the glory of young men is their strength, while the honor of old men is their grey hair. This is reinforced in Proverbs 16:31, where we read that an old man's grey hair and other symbols of his advancing age, should not be pitied or considered detrimental, but rather should be praised and seen as a badge of honor. When a man has trusted God with all his heart during his lifetime and acknowledged the Lord in all his ways, his grey hair should be seen as a laudable crown of glory which is often rewarded by a long and fruitful life. Our church designated one Sunday in September every year as Senior Citizen day to recognize the valuable services rendered by them to the growth of the church and the benefit of society, and encourage them for continued services wherever they are placed. Old age and long life are considered blessings from Almighty God. Psalm 91: 16 says “With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you”. This is the only commandment with a promise that God has given through Moses (Exodus 20:12). Proverbs 3: 1-2 says that we should not forget God’s teachings, and if we keep His commandments in our hearts, it will prolong our lives many years.
Respecting the older generation:
Recently I read about an incident that happened in Kerala where a young man killed his own mother striking her with a gas cylinder resulting from a domestic dispute. This is one of the several such incidents that take place on daily basis in and around us. Many incidents go unreported. Today we live in an age where older generations are not given due respect. It is very important to ponder how our people are treating our older generations. Today the younger generation has totally failed to respect the older generation. We observe that the aged parents are being abandoned in front of worship places and other common places. Contrary to this, in Bible, we see a lady named Ruth, a gentile woman, who in spite of adverse circumstances in her life did not leave her mother-in-law Naomi alone and she wanted to accompany her wherever Naomi wanted to go. But Ruth replied to Naomi “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). It is the responsibility of younger generation to take care of the older generation. Elderly people need care and comfort to lead a healthy life without worries and anxiety. Someone has rightly said, “Take care of the aged, for they have taken care of you while you were young”.
The joy of growing old :
Old age is a sensitive phase. Lack of awareness regarding the changing behavioral patterns in elderly people at home leads to abuse of them by their kin. Elderly people must learn to adapt to new situations, take things positively, and try to enjoy life in whatever situation they are in. Caleb was 85 years old when he asked Joshua to assign him the country of the Anakim giants, and he captured the city of Hebron and drove out the giants. Michael Angelo was still designing churches at the age of 88. Albert Schweitzer was opening a hospital in Africa at the age of 89. In order to maintain a youthful old age, aerobic fitness, mental stimulation, new learning, avoiding stress, engaging in rich social life, and healthy eating are essential. Keeping ourselves in creative actions is an effective way of using our productive years of old age. Life is a gift from God and we have to make use of time wisely. Since the best is yet to come, make the rest of our time the best of our life. Growing old is part of the creative plan of God for human beings. Isaiah 46: 3-4 says “I have cared for you from the time you were born, I am your God and take care of you until you are old and your hair is gray”.
Role of the church in taking care of elders
It is important to note that our church has given priority to taking care of the aged. Many parishes have daycare centers for persons over sixty. Transportation is arranged to bring them to daycare centers and different programs to entertain them are organized like singing, Bible classes, health awareness programs, discussions, workshops, games and so many other energizing joyful activities. This type of fellowship among senior persons is increasing the quality and longevity of life. The church can play a major role in making the lives of seniors happy and contented. Emphasis must be given to giving fellowship to those seniors who are coping with loneliness and prolonged illness. Visiting them on regular basis and assisting in their urgent needs should be given top priority.
Let us examine ourselves and make sure that we do all possible efforts to make the lives of our seniors happy and contented.
How can we grow old gracefully and have a meaningful life?
Mar Thoma church Staten Island