The closer I get to the big “60” the more I realize that I will be of greater worth to my community than ever before. I cannot play baseball like I use to. I cannot compete in gymnastics as I did many years ago. Sometimes I need a power nap in the middle of the day. My bones, muscles, eyes and ears have experienced a little decline. I even have to watch what I eat! Can you identify with any of these “growing pains?”
Though the above is true for many of us, I still believe we are at a stage in our lives where we are the most valuable people in America. I was considering starting an internet ministry that provides resources, opportunities, encouragement and structure for seniors who simply do not want to sit back in the easy chair, watch cable news and wait to die. With the average life expectancy closing in on 80, we still have 25% of our life ahead of us. What are we going to do as we come around 3rd base in the last stretch to home plate?
Consider these seniors who simply never stopped until the Lord called them home:
Nola Ochs, 95 Year Old College Grad!
Ruth Hamilton: Oldest Blogger At 109 Years Old
Oldest Absentee Voter: Cecilia Gaudette, 106
Oldest Biker Girl: Bess Tancrelle, 102
Oldest Scuba Diver: Bert Kilbride, 93
Oldest Liberator of a Race of People: Moses, 80
God gives us life in order that we might serve Him until He says, “That is enough, its time to come home.”
There are gifts and abilities older people have that younger ones simply don’t. Older people should have more wisdom, experience, knowledge, discernment, caution, patience and a choice in what they want to involve themselves with. In some cases older people can choose the days of the week and the hours of the day in which they will be involved. Their schedule in more relaxed if they choose to take a vacation, work in the garden or babysit the grandchildren.
One of the greatest opportunities older people have that younger people have no time and patience for is to mentor someone who is much younger. St. Paul took Timothy under his wing. Elijah mentored Elisha and taught him the responsibility of being a prophet called by God. I presently have three young men I meet with more than once a week for their training in ministry. I imagine there is a lot YOU have to offer if you thought about it for only a moment.
The greatest training any younger person can receive is not found in the college classroom; it is found learning a little O.J.T. (one the job training) from someone like you. I have been blessed through the years having received mentoring from Msgt. Ken Price who discipled me in my early Christian training. Dr. John S. Logan, Scottish evangelist, was used of God to teach me how to preach. Rev. Dave Errickson taught me how to serve people. Azariah from India taught me how to manage ministries and trust in God for the results. Presently, there is 91 year old Steve Bidak who is teaching me how to be a handy man around the church and parsonage. It’s my time to return the favor to other young men who may follow in my steps as I have followed Christ.
There is a term I coined many years ago. It is what I call “henship.” That’s right; I said henship, not friendship. Henship is simply taking someone “under your wing” and teaching them what you already know and have experienced. If we don’t consider this opportunity we have decided to be poor stewards of what time and talent God has given us and are cheating others from benefitting from what we have to offer. Do NOT think for a moment that you have nothing to offer. That is a lie you need to stop believing!
Have you ever gone into a McDonalds during early morning hours and noticed a group of men and a sprinkling of women who are sitting there “chewing the fat?” Wouldn’t it be great if each of those seniors would spend a fraction of that time and meet with a younger person on a weekly basis to offer whatever help or advice the younger one may need through the struggles they may be experiencing? There is nothing more satisfying than to know you have been a blessing to someone else who is facing what you have already gone through and learned from.
By the way, what is meant by the “Golden Years?” Could it be that they are the most productive years of our life? If that isn’t what is meant, it should be. We have the opportunity to help shape another’s life. We may influence them spiritually, politically, socially or we may simply be a friend they can come to and trust in. The greatest investment we can make is to invest in a young person’s life. Take time and offer up a prayer to God and ask Him, “To whom can I practice a little henship; lead me to that person and that person to me!”