Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Senior Citizen Day – Care to the Elders2 Timothy 4:9-18
Throughout Paul’s letters, there are at least 100 different names listed as a part of his circle of friends and co-workers. But towards the end, all his friends and confidantes forsake him and he is only left with few of his close friends who he wants to see as his end is nearing. Paul knew that his death was imminent, and what he requested makes us think seriously about our values, hopes and needs. He wanted the young Mark and Timothy to come to see him as he feels that they are very useful for the ministry and share his same spiritual wavelength and faith. Also, Paul valued certain objects like his cloak, his books and the parchments. This tells us that he needed warmth, intellectual support and spiritual nourishment from the books and parchments even in his final days. We can find similar references in the bible about final hours, one such was Christ’s final hours as he approached his inner circle of Peter, James, and John asking if they would pray with him for an hour.
Entering into old age can bring anxiety and a sense of uncertainty for a lot of people. People tend to think that there is nothing much to do anymore or there is no specific purpose left in life. In the end; just like Demas left Paul for worldly pleasures many seniors may find closest friends, family and even their own children leaving them. But Paul’s activities in his old age proves that this is a stage of life with endless possibilities, there is a lot to accomplish. Even as an old man facing death, the apostle had not lost his interest for study and mental pursuits. It presents a perfect example for people in old age to be more aligned with the word of God and be lifelong students. Seniors are a treasure trove of life experiences and they have tremendous knowledge about each stage of life. This is the time when they can mentor and teach wisdom and virtue to the young and can show them the path of holy living. They can act as the guiding light in their church and community they live in.
Our seniors can specifically find purpose from Paul’s old age and final moments of his life where he was not self-consumed, depressed or isolated but he continued to spread the Gospel. Now, there is no denying that we need seasons of rest and recovery, but our rest and recovery is so that we can minister again, and more effectively. Sometimes, ministry is the exact thing a person needs, when going through a hard time and there is no better person such as an elder in the church or community who can help a person to navigate through those difficult times. Proverbs 11:25 says, “whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Isaiah 58:6-12 promises tremendous blessings to those who minister to others.
In conclusion and by taking example from Paul’s life; even if old age leads to loneliness illness or weakness, our years of fruitful service need not be over. We can still pray, since prayer is one of the special privileges of infirmity, and in the end may be its greatest benefit. Mentoring, being a godly example, praying, and loving helps growing old gracefully with God. Finally, as a church we can put the needs of our seniors as priority. We need to reach out and check in on them in their loneliness and illness. Many senior adults have stories of God’s faithfulness to them through the years that younger families desperately need to hear. If we do not provide avenues for senior adults to share their stories of God’s faithfulness to younger church members, we are robbing the next generation of the proof of God’s power and strength through all circumstances.
Mar Thoma church Staten Island