How often in the busyness of our lives do we give place to the visiting of the elderly in our churches? Are they just in our passing thoughts and prayers? Do we see them at church and then forget about them altogether during the week? We must never forget the important place God has given the elderly in the church of Jesus Christ. The elderly are those who have stood strong in the battle for the truth God has given our churches. They are the saints through whom God has continued his covenant with his people in their generations. They are the ones who set examples to the following generations of living godly lives. They are fountains of knowledge and wisdom to us who are just starting to travel the life of a pilgrim and stranger here below, while their travels are soon coming to an end. Young people and fellow children of God, make time in your lives for these elderly saints who show forth to us the faithfulness of our Father in heaven.
God makes known to us in Psalm 92 that the elderly will still bring forth fruit in old age. Young people and fellow saints in the Church, when we do not visit the elderly, we leave them with the feeling that they are of no value to us anymore. By physical standards of health, they are weak and do not seem to have much more worth in this world. They have lost many of their physical abilities and talents, and often need help to go about day-to-day activities. Yet God has given them an honored position in the church. They are to teach the younger generation of the beauty of God’s church (Zion), and how the God we serve is our God forever, and a guide to them and all of us as we approach death (Ps. 48:13–14).
The work of the elderly is not finished until they depart this life here below. They are examples to us of our heavenly Father’s faithfulness. Go and visit an elderly person, and start asking questions about their history in our churches, and you will find a fount of information and a wealth of knowledge concerning the great work of God in preserving the church of Christ. Also, in trials you may face, go to them. They have gone through many of the troubles and trials of life that we now face. They will listen with a sympathetic ear and give you sound spiritual advice, much of which is based on the lessons God has taught them in their own pilgrimage here below.
Let us also remember God’s Word to us in James 1:27, which teaches us, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Many of our elderly have lost their spouses and live alone. They are lonely, and have few possessions with them to keep them busy. Most of their friends have already departed from this life, and they know that for themselves as well, death is soon approaching. Our visits show them that we care about them and esteem them in the position God has given them. Our visits take their thoughts off their infirmities and uplift them.
Young people, in the busyness of your lives, make time for the elderly in the church. We often get so caught up in the cares of our own lives that we don’t make time for others. Don’t ever let yourself take an easy out and say, “But I am too busy.” Instead of making those plans with your friends to go out to eat, make plans with your friends to visit an elderly saint and have supper with him or her. Get together in small groups to go and sing to the elderly. They love to hear the songs of Zion. Set up a casual game night with elderly saints. God will bless those who take time for the elderly. Often when one visits an elderly saint, he goes with the attitude that he is benefiting that saint, but when he leaves he sees how much the communion with that saint has been a blessing to him.
Mothers, in the busyness of your life with young ones, don’t forget to set aside time to bring your children to visit the aged. The elderly love to see their children’s children, who witness to them of God’s faithfulness in continuing his covenant in the line in generations. Also, by taking your children to visit them, you will instill in their hearts at a young age a great respect and love for the elderly of the church. Families, visit the elderly, and invite them over to your homes, so that they get to experience the communion of the saints in the sphere of family life.
In all your life here below, remember that we are pilgrims, and that the life we have been given is to be used to God’s glory. We live life here below with a view to what awaits us in heaven. Who has more knowledge about what is truly important in life and death than those who are nearing the end of their pilgrimage? Go and visit the elderly, and they will speak of how quickly the years of their life have passed by, and how vain this life here below is. They will speak of the glory of heaven to which they look forward, where they will have perfect communion with God. Visit these dear elderly saints. Learn from them and treasure their advice, applying it to your life. Follow their godly examples and long for the day when we shall have perfect communion with them and with our heavenly Father.