Seniors often lament, “Growing old is not for wimps.” God designed our bodies to age, which can mean more aches, pains, and doctors’ visits than we’d like to experience. We don’t have the same energy or dexterity of our youth, but the good news is we have more time to spend with our Lord. What a blessing!
The Bible has a plethora of examples of God using elderly men and women to do his calling and his work. God can and will still use seniors until he takes us home to be with him. As long as we have breath, God has a purpose and plan for our life. He’s not finished with us yet. That truth is an inspiration and encouragement for every senior to make the rest of their life the best of their life!
When we’re younger, we focus on family and careers, but as our children have families of their own and we retire or work less, we have more time to do the Lord’s work. Living for God and helping further his earthly kingdom helps us to end well.
Let’s look at seven things God wants seniors to know and do in this golden season of life.
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1. Pass Down Your Faith to the Next Generation
God commands one generation to share life experiences and God’s faithfulness with the next generation. It’s God’s plan for the growth and continuation of the church. Mentoring and discipleship are ways for one generation to teach and train the next generation.
It’s a myth and work of the enemy to discourage seniors into thinking they’re no longer valuable or that the younger generation isn’t interested in what they have to say. Seldom is that true. In Mentoring for All Seasons, Tracey, a young twenty-something mother, voices the cry of many younger people who are looking for guidance and direction in how to live a Christian life in a culture forsaking God. Everything she expresses here also applies to young men looking for an older man to disciple them.
“I plead for so many others, and myself, who have no idea what it looks like to be a godly woman. If I could share one truth with an older woman interested in investing in a lost generation, it would be—we need your commitment and honesty. Don’t feel inferior or believe in the ‘age gap.’ We need advice on everything! Since older women have experienced much more in life, younger women look to them as examples.
I beg the older generations to please be the mentors God called you to be—take up your cross and invest in the future. It takes patience, perseverance, and Christianity. The women you invest in today may turn around and invest in tomorrow’s generation.”
God explains his plan for the generations to interact in Titus 2:1-7 where the apostle Paul advises Pastor Titus who is starting a church plant in Crete comprised of all generations.
You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. Titus 2:1-7
Young Pastor Titus followed older Paul’s instructions, and his church plant grew. These verses should be the foundation of every church today. Paul understood mentoring and discipleship. He had been mentored by Barnabas, and then Paul took the time out of his busy ministry to mentor not only Titus, but also Timothy and Mark.
Who might God want you to mentor in your church or family?
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2. Stay Flexible and Keep Learning
No matter how many sermons we hear or how many times we’ve read the Bible in our life, the Holy Spirit always has something new and refreshing to teach us. Seniors’ Bibles should be well-worn from reading, highlighting, and making notes. A legacy we’ll leave to our family.
If we’re going to be relevant to the next generation, we also need to keep up with their technology. I find our children and grandchildren are far more communicative if we text. Often when we call, we get their voicemail, but they respond quickly to texts. While seniors have more time to talk, younger people are often in school or working. Texting might not be our preferred means of communication, but it’s theirs. So better a text than silence.
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. Proverbs 1:5
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3. You Are a Source of Wisdom
To reach the next generation, we need to embrace their style of worship . . . their way of communicating . . . their world. If we want to have an impact in their lives—to wisely guide them in the ways of righteousness—we need to speak their language, care about the things they care about, and reach out to them in love with a desire to understand what’s important to them.
Speak the truth, but always speak it in love, not condescending. We’ve learned a lot from our life experiences and others may need to have their own life-shaping experiences, but we can be a ready source of information and wisdom when the timing is right.
Seniors can share their testimony before and after Christ as an encouragement to loved ones and friends. Children and grandchildren may not know the stories of their heritage and familial ancestors. Seniors are a wealth of family history and tales.
I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. Psalms 78:1-4
Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? Job 12:12
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4. Enjoy Life
Whether it’s grandparenting or sitting out on the deck swing in the morning with a cup of coffee, my Bible, and no timeline, I often tell my friends God saved the best for last. My husband and I were fortunate to move to a rural mountain area where there are many retirees. Joining and serving in the local community church affords us the opportunity to experience an enjoyable social and spiritual life with like-minded friends.
My 82-year-old friend and neighbor maintains a spectacular garden. Her happy place is weeding and replanting plants in the quiet morning coolness. She tells me she feels close to God while gardening and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. We all need to find our “happy place.”
The culture we’re living in now is radically juxtaposed to the world of our youth. It’s easy to get discouraged and depressed watching the core values of our country degraded and demolished. We mustn’t let it ruin the joy of knowing that this world is not our home. God doesn’t want us sad or depressed. He wants us involved in areas where he leads us to make a positive difference.
Nehemiah was not a young man when he went to rebuild the broken wall in Jerusalem, but he had wise words for everyone living in a broken world. We still need to remember to laugh, smile, and have fun. Mark Twain said, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.”
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
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5. Strive to Stay Active When Possible
Many gyms, clubs, retirement homes, and communities have senior workout programs designed to keep our bodies functioning and focusing on balance to prevent falls. Walking is always a good way to keep the blood flowing and joints moving.
Joining a book club or Bible study group gets us out of the house, socializing with others, and keeping our minds active. Serving on a committee or ministry team at church is productive even if it’s folding bulletins, greeting on Sunday morning, helping in the church kitchen or library, maybe even doing research for the pastor’s sermons. Being around others provides an opportunity to encourage each other.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
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6. Remain Close to God
It’s not easy watching our bodies and maybe our minds begin to age. Spending time with the Lord every day, sometimes all day, reading our Bibles and basking in his presence and love for us helps ease pain and even loneliness knowing we’re never alone with Christ by our side. God’s Word is a constant reminder of how much he loves us and is only a prayer or conversation away. As believers, we await with anticipation our ultimate home with him.
We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 2 Corinthians 4:14-16
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7. Pray for Family and Friends
Even when our bodies don’t allow us to move as quickly as we would like, or maybe illness keeps us bedridden, we can always pray for everyone God puts on our hearts. I know many acknowledge that the prayers of our grandparents helped us become the men and women we are today. Let your prayer list know you’re praying for them with a phone call, card, or text. I’ve never seen anyone turn down prayer.
I heard one friend say that before he retired it was always a quick cup of coffee and a Scripture before rushing out the door to work. Now, he has all day to savor his coffee and spend time with his Savior.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Psalms 71:18
God reminds us throughout the Bible that he will never leave or forsake us. He knew us in our mother’s womb and he’s numbered the strands of hair on our head and our days on this earth. When we remember the miracles he’s done in our life in the past, and his vow to be with us until the end, we can be at peace with the plans he has for us today. God wants seniors to keep moving forward and make the rest of life the best.
“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:3-4
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Originally published Tuesday, 05 September 2023.