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A New Year's Study for Seniors to Grow in Availability 

Gina Smith

ginalsmith.com
Published Dec 27, 2023
A New Year's Study for Seniors to Grow in Availability 

Being available isn't just a good thing to do; it is a holy calling. When we prioritize reaching out to others, adjusting our schedule and agenda, making ourselves available to God, and investing in the next generation, we reflect God's priorities. When we submit our time, gifts, abilities, and resources to God, we are offering ourselves as a living sacrifice.

Do you lack direction for the New Year as a member of the older generation? Do you wonder what your purpose is in 2024? For the child of God, beyond the primary calling of glorifying God, every believer has a holy calling as part of their existence: to be available to those who are a part of the body of Christ. (Hebrews 10:24,25)

As my husband and I have been praying over what God wants us to do during this season of our lives, God's calling has become clearer and clearer. Everywhere we turn, the message has been to "BE AVAILABLE "!

As we have thought through this charge, we have contemplated some ways that God has been leading us to be available. Use these examples as a springboard for discerning God's direction in your personal situation. 

Recently, I had the privilege of going to the doctor with my daughter and her sweet 6-month-old baby girl. I sat in the car's back seat and tried to entertain her while she blew bubbles and laughed at me!

Regularly, my son calls me and asks if I will take care of his adorable, happy, lively Aussiedoodle so that he and his wife can go out for the evening and the dog doesn't have to be alone for too long. We pull out the dog toys and treats that we keep in our home and are able to spend the evening snuggling with the sweetest dog I know!

Most Sundays, after church, my husband and I look for a young couple who might want to eat lunch with us, and God is faithful to regularly lead us to just the right people. We treat them to a meal and have the privilege of getting to know them and finding out how we can pray for them, and we look for ways to encourage them.

On Friday evenings, we open our home to whoever God has led us to reach out to. I make a big pot of something yummy, create a breadboard with a few kinds of butter and jelly, make a big green salad and a simple dessert, and we take time to get to know a young couple or a few single people from our church. We have the best time laughing, talking, and getting to know each other. Then, we pray for them before they go home. It's a wonderful time of fellowship.

On a regular basis, I like to invite a young mom and her children over for breakfast. It allows the mom to get out and be pampered a little bit, and it gives me an opportunity to get to know her, her children, and how I can pray for them.

Grandparent, mom, and daughter

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/LuckyBusiness

My Husband and I have talked about using the resources God has given us to rent a house somewhere for a weekend getaway and invite a few couples to join us for a weekend of fun, fellowship, and getting to know each other. Why is this needed, you might ask. I read an article the other day (in the secular news) that reported that Millennials feel like their Boomer parents have abandoned them. They are feeling a lack of support from their parent's generation and have to turn to peers or the internet for help raising their children and for life advice. A result, in part, of their Boomer parents "living their best life, finding new careers, traveling, etc."

This trend is affecting the life of the church as the younger generation (in the church) is reporting a hard time finding older couples to glean from because they are too busy. They aren't available. 

Is my generation missing the calling we have to be available? 

I certainly understand the tension that exists. As soon as my kids got married, I began getting pressure (from the world and within the church) to live life for myself. "Now that you are free from raising kids, get a job, start a new career path, earn more money, travel, live your new best life…." 

God is telling me to be available.

This doesn't mean I can't work, have interests, or take a vacation. I have responsibilities that keep me busy and physical issues that limit me. But the calling I have biblically is to be available. To live life with my own children and their spouses, people in my church, and those who are around me on a daily basis. This is not the time to disconnect but to dig more deeply into the calling to represent Christ effectively in every stage of life. These are the people I am called to be available to serve in the ways God calls me to serve. This is what we are called to as the older generation. 

Mentor older and younger woman talking

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/evgenyatamanenko


Availability: A Holy Calling 

Being available isn't just a good thing to do; it is a holy calling. When we prioritize reaching out to others, adjusting our schedule and agenda, making ourselves available to God, and investing in the next generation, we reflect God's priorities. When we submit our time, gifts, abilities, and resources to God, we are offering ourselves as a living sacrifice:

"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Romans 12:1 

Some verses to meditate on:

"Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." Matthew 5:42

 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2

 "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." Hebrew 6:10

"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:16

 "Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12; 13

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

These verses are meant for us to read and apply, regardless of our age. As we get older, we are responsible for living them out even more as we look for ways to encourage and invest in the younger generations. We are never too old to say, "Here I am!"

Four men in the Bible who said, "Here I am"

1. Moses: In Exodus 3, we see Moses submitting to God's calling on his life when he says, "Here I am!" to God speaking to him from the burning bush. This encounter is the beginning of Moses leading the Israelites to escape from slavery. 

2. Jacob: In Genesis 31, we see Jacob submitting to God's calling on his life when he says, "Here I am!" when God comes to him in a dream and leads him to leave his father-in-law's home and begin the nation of Israel. 

3. Samuel: In 1 Samuel 3, we see Samuel submitting to God's calling to be available when he says, "Here I am!" so that God could use him in multiple ways: He was the person God used to anoint the first two physical kings of Israel, and he served Saul in the early years of his reign.

4 Ananias: In Acts 9, we see Ananias submitting to God's calling on his life when he says, "Here I am!" when God wanted to use him to tell Paul about Jesus. 

These are just a few examples of men who said, "Here I am." to God and were used for God's specific purposes. They may have been different ages, but they are examples for us to follow as we ask God how He wants to use us as the older generation.

God wants to use the years He has gifted us, the things He has taught us, and all the ways He has shown us His faithfulness. When we offer our lives, resources, time, and giftings to God and say, "Here am I!" we have the opportunity to share with those coming behind us that He is faithful. We have the opportunity to encourage them and strengthen them in God. God can use us in ways we never imagined! 

Some verses to meditate on:

"One generation shall commend your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts." Psalm 145:4

"So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come." Psalm 71:18

Be available. Drink coffee with them, watch their kids, have them for dinner, play with their dog, hug their necks, learn from them, and tell them that God is faithful! It won't make you rich, and the world won't be impressed by your accomplishments, but you will be fulfilling the holy calling of being available, and you will be able to proclaim to the younger generation that God is faithful!

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Ridofranz

Gina Smith is a writer and author. She has been married for 35 years to Brian, a college professor and athletic trainer. For 25+ years, she and her husband served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents, where Brian was a professor and dean of students. They reside right outside of Washington, DC, and are the parents of two grown children, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law, and one granddaughter. She recently authored her first traditionally published book, Everyday Prayers for Joy, which is available everywhere books are sold. You can find Gina at the following: Website: ginalsmith.com, Instagram, and at Million Praying Moms, where she is a writer.