I am thankful for this group because they help all the members of the church keep our eyes on Heaven and the King of Heaven–the Lord Jesus Christ. They know that their days and years on this earth are few. But they do not look at that as a negative but as a positive. With an eager expectation of what lies ahead, they look forward to being with the Lord and being reunited with loved ones lost. What a joy! What perspective that gives the rest of us in church that this life is indeed fleeting. To enjoy every stage of life and to cherish the time that we have.
A pastor in our area once told me that the median age of his church was somewhere in the mid-20’s, and that he had no one over the age of 50. Many would have been impressed by such a fact. However, I was a bit sad to hear it—mainly because my friend was missing out on the incredible blessing of elderly saints. Sure, there are always a few that are cantankerous and surly—as with any other age group—but, on the whole, I am overwhelmingly and especially thankful for this group of congregants.
I have not always felt that way. Like most, when I was in my twenties I was looking for a church that had other twenty-somethings. This is not wrong per se. Most visitors come to a church looking for others like themselves. But as I became more involved with the life of the church (both as a lay person and then as a minister), I quickly found myself having a growing appreciation, and most surprisingly, many friendships with those much older than myself.
Here are several reasons why I am thankful to God for the elderly saints in the congregation:
No other group has loved me and my family better than this age group. Perhaps it reminds them of when they were younger, and they had little kids – but there is a bond and affection that they have for us, and us with them. They are genuinely glad to see us, ask us how we are doing and remember my children’s birthdays with cards and small gifts. Many have become like our children’s adopted grandparents. Sure, my ten-year old son may not like it now when old ladies give him hugs or kiss his cheeks, but I think later in life he will be thankful for the family feeling that our church has provided and the love that he has received from such people.
Again, no other group in the church is more dedicated to prayer than this particular age group. Those of us younger tend to think that we can solve most problems and issues through our vigor and actions.