Memories of Honor
Having served in home hospice and health care many years ago, I learned to love seniors … and now I am one. I remember being in awe of the amazing wisdom and insight that flowed out of them, which I knew could only have been acquired by the process of time. Sometimes I would sit with them for hours as we looked through old photographs. I learned to listen, trying to be like a sponge soaking up years of knowledge. The experiences of the Great Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and World War II, along with the imposing of the draft in which thirty-four million men registered, ten million of which served with the military, were beyond what I could even imagine. There were no idle hands and the resilience and tenacity was amazing.
And I remember my own sweet mama, who is now eighty-nine years old, telling me stories of how when someone passed away in her farming community, the entire community would shut down for a few days. No one in the neighborhood would even consider not showing their last respects, even when blizzards dumped twenty-seven inches of snow with fifty to eighty-mile-per-hour winds following.
In her youth, most funerals were held right in the homes of the deceased. Mamas often shared, with her German dialect, how caravans of horses and buggies would line up and enter the grieving family’s residence together, loaded with fresh milk, eggs, homemade breads, chicken, beef, and many other items that would help the family cope with their sorrow.
In the weeks that followed a funeral, the men in the community would often line up their horses and farm equipment, entering the fields of a deceased farmer in order to reap the harvest for the widow and her family. No wages were ever involved—the community always served out of love and respect. Times have changed.
Today we live in a much faster-paced world where we’ve moved from horse and buggies to vehicles that can take us from city to city or continent to continent in a fraction of the time. Don’t get me wrong—I am thrilled about the acceleration. I love and admire young people, and I truly enjoy talking (or texting) with them. I take every opportunity I can to speak at college campuses or youth groups because their dreams are big, the synergy is amazing, and young people make me feel … well, young. I want my ceiling to be the floor for the younger generation; in fact, I pray they soar much higher than I could even dream as they reach the world with the gospel.
I will say, however, that it concerns me to see young people who are raised into challenging positions too quickly because there is so much that can only be learned through the course of time. Proverbs 16:31 reminds us, “A silver head is a crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness.” The truth is that no matter how much we pour into the next generation—and we need to pour all we can into them—some lessons in life will only come through time and experience.
It is interesting that the word found in Proverbs 16:31 can be rendered as “attached by action, as walking on a journey.” A silver head, which is a crown of glory, can only come by walking on a journey, by putting our bodies into action for decades not just weeks or months. I don’t know how God is going to work everything out, but I know He has a plan from beginning to end. I also know that we cannot go over or under the fire of God; we must go through it at some time.
Nuggets of Gold
Recently I was pondering what I’ve “attached by action, as walking on a journey” in my sixty-one years of life and compiled a long list, letting it flow from my heart. Of course the list was not exhaustive, but I wish I could bottle what God has taught me over the years and give it to thousands of people—but the truth is that I cannot. However, I pray that even a glimpse at just thirty-five of the most important lessons the Lord has taught me can be tools in your spiritual toolbox as the generations, both young and old, fight the good fight of faith and walk arm-in-arm, with shields locked.
Well, there’s a starting point. If we pass on the batons that our elders have given to us, then our ceilings really can be the floor of the younger generations. Sure, time will teach many lessons, but in an accelerated world impartation of seniors’ hard-fought truths and nuggets of wisdom are crucial for that growth process.
Champions Are Made
According to forecasts by the Census Bureau, in America alone, the population over sixty-five will grow from thirty-four million to fifty-three million by the year 2020. And the over-eighty-five population will nearly double to seven million. As we move into our glory years, let’s cling to the promises of God and be refreshed in His presence as our youth is renewed like that of an eagle. And don’t forget, “As your days are, so your strength shall be” (Deuteronomy 33:22).
Listen, friends: God is raising up an army of powerful seniors in this day and hour as we prepare for the greatest harvest of souls known to humankind. Take care of yourselves, study to show yourselves approved, and be ready in and out of season. Wear your crown of splendor and glory well, for it was found in the way of righteousness (Proverbs 16:31 MSG). God is about to breathe on the dry bones that have been scattered in the valley, and a trained army will arise to do great exploits in His mighty name.
How wonderful to know that the Lord is cheering us on as we proclaim His power to a new generation and His mighty miracles to all who come after us (Psalm 71:18). I am a senior and proud of it! How about you?
We salute seniors today on behalf of the body of Christ. We honor you! Thank you for making the way for thousands of others to follow, because we know there was pain in the offering. We love you for it!
Copyright © Paulette Reed Ministries.