By Ed Lewis
Francis Chan reminds people that in a marathon, as runners get to the finish line, they speed up. He says that as a society, we have it all backwards. We start the race of life in a sprint. When we are a young adult we serve others and do ministry hard. Then, we slow down when we marry and even more so when we have kids. We almost come to a stop when we retire and we even forget we are in a race. That is just plain wrong.
It’s not to say that retirement is wrong, it is not. But as we get to the finish line we should be even more intentional about ministry and serving Jesus. We need to quit being takers and keep being givers by staying involved. We need to sprint to Jesus as we age so He can greet us and say “…well done thou good and faithful servant!”
Here are three important things we regularly share with believers in this age group:
- Older followers of Jesus are still important in the body of Christ and they are not to feel that their best days are in the past. The best days may yet be ahead! God loves them and they are not forgotten.
- Senior saints are to continue to give to others, especially those who are younger. While health may be an issue, we should do all we can to love and serve and remain faithful in giving to others—especially the young. Psalm 71:18 is such a wonderful verse. “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” The passage from Titus 2 for the older giving to the younger is also such a key section of Scripture.
- Senior adults are the best ones to model loving and serving Jesus now. It is a now thing. They need to reach their peers for Jesus. While there are some who think that as we age it is time for others to serve US, we need to see that we may be the best ones to serve our own peers. And we need to keep a positive attitude. We cannot be the antagonists of the church as we age. We need to adapt. Methods change. The Bible does not change. Do not fight technology or changing styles of ministry. Adapt. In the same way a missionary must learn French, we must be willing to try hard to adapt to new technology or different musical tastes. We need to be the examples of ones who love Jesus deeply and the ones who love others, reach out, pray, and encourage.
Some of the best people to love and serve others are those who are retired.
What are the kinds of things that senior adults can do?
- They can disciple others.
- They can volunteer.
- They can visit and make phone calls and share Jesus with their peers.
- They can connect with people at church. They can sit with new people and take people to lunch.
- They can do marriage counseling for young couples.
- They can write cards and go on Facebook to encourage others.
- Some can even go on mission trips.
- They can bake pies and give them to new believers or those who are not yet believers.
- They could offer to fix cars or teach fishing skills to kids.
- At the North of 55 events we make packets for the homeless and write notes and mark verses in the New Testaments we give them.
The list is endless…
CE National offers annual North of 55 events for senior adults to encourage others. We bring in a key speaker and musicians and have lots of fun. Then we challenge seniors in these goals and let them know they are still needed. We often honor them for active faithfulness as well.
With a target this big, how can we miss?!!
Read more articles like this one at cenational.org/omi.