The Bible tells us that “religion that God accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help….” (James 1:27 NCV).
If I profess to be a practicing Christian, the reality of my faith will be reflected in my attitude towards the aging elderly in general and to my own parents in particular. First, I am called to respect old age itself. The Word of God tells me to “Show respect to old people; rise up in their presence….” (Leviticus 19:32 NCV).
How long has it been since you saw a younger person rise to give his or her seat to an older one? Just as a matter of common courtesy, do our own children get to their feet when their grandparents come into the room? And when grandpa is out of earshot, are our words indicative of a spiritual obedience and a decision to indeed “Honor our father and our mother”?
….You see, it is not enough to care financially for our loved ones. They deserve more from us than our pocketbooks. They need above all else to know that we consider them valuable as people and that they are still Important to somebody, somewhere. Do we have a sympathetic sensitivity to their severe desire for independence and their frustration or embarrassment of having to be dependent on us at all? Have we appreciated the fear that they may have had of becoming just so much nuisance value to us? We will have to work very hard to assure them that it is indeed a privilege and joy for us to care and give and do, not as a mere duty, but rather as a delight.I believe that “honoring” or valuing our parents includes all of this.
Really you may not be as old as you think you are. Is the age of fifty old? John Wesley thought so because, as he approached the half-century mark, he very gloomily and hastily wrote his obituary that he might be remembered among man, but at the age of eighty-eight he was still living a joyous and a full life. At that age, he was worried about being remembered by others but was thinking about how he could accomplish the will of God.
Is the age of sixty-five old? Charles Elliott, president of Harvard, once thought so and was telling a friend that he expected to die pretty soon because of the old age he had reached. Yet at the age of ninety-two, he was living a more useful life than he was at the age of sixty-six.
The point is, you may not be as old as you think you are. It has been well said, “Age is only a matter of the mind! If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
Doctor Albert Schweitzer worked creatively and happily well past his ninetieth birthday. He had many accomplishments he could point to. He could have “rested on his laurels,” but he continued to believe that there were useful tasks which he could perform. Even at the time of his death, he was working on the manuscript for a new book.
Go back to Robert Browning ’s beautiful poem: “Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be….” No matter what your life is believing that your present age is the best age. And it is very likely to be. Connected Bible reading portion: Genesis 17:1; Deuteronomy 34 1-7; Luke 2:25-38; Titus 2:1-5 —Charles L Allen