Ministering to Our Senior Citizens
As our health services improve more and more people are living longer, so you need to know how to relate to them. It’s a mistake to look at older people in the light of what they have been, rather than what they can be. Too often they feel shelved. David said, ‘Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.’ (Psalm 71:9 NIV) It’s crazy to think people can no longer learn; learning ability doesn’t wear out. The rate of learning may decline, but the capacity remains constant. Let’s encourage our elders to exercise their minds, and to keep dreaming. Like our muscles, the ability to learn and grow grows stronger or weaker depending on whether it’s being used or not. Do you want to be ‘filed away’ when you’re old? No? Well, neither do they. Instead, let’s talk about coping with age; finding new ways to be useful; adjusting to a reduced income; learning to live alone; relating to grandchildren; understanding the limitations of the body; maintaining high morale; keeping up personal appearance; and preparing for death. Rather than ignoring our wisest minds or belittling their contribution, we should help them to make demands on the church. In a very real sense, their opportunity to have a voice and a role in the church’s ministry has been earned. Our culture shames itself by catering to teenagers who have less knowledge of what the church ought to be doing, while ignoring people in whom the Spirit of God has been working for 50 years or more.