By Lydia Teh
It is encouraging to note that during the recent church building clean up, there were 15 members above 60 years old who turned up to help. Well done, brethren! Age is just a number, isn’t it?
Where serving God is concerned, age should be of no consequence. Even in our golden years, we can actively serve our Lord. In Luke 2:36-38, we read of 84-year old Anna who was still fasting, praying and preaching in the temple daily despite her “great age.”
At age 85, Caleb’s vigour for the Lord was still as strong as it was when he was 40.
In his own words, “7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and I brought back word to him as it was in my heart. 8 Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the [a]heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lord my God. 9 So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ 10 And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. 11 As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out and for coming in. 12 Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said.” (Josh. 14:7-17).
Senior citizens (sounds better than old people) can be likened to cheese. In cheese making, aging is what gives cheese its unique flavour, aroma and texture.
“As a cheese is allowed to age, the enzymes inside the cheese break down the proteins into amino acids and fatty acids. Most cheese require an aging period of two weeks to two years to fully develop and mature its flavours.
Aged cheese has an intensity of flavour and aroma that is hard to find in fresh cheese like ricotta, cream cheese, and cottage cheese. The cheese that are aged are stored in cellars where the temperature and the humidity of the cellar is kept at a constant. These two factors, i.e., temperature and humidity play a very important role in determining the ultimate taste of the cheese.” (Source: https://tastessence.com/aged-cheese)
Like good cheese, senior citizens have gone through an aging process. They are endowed with wisdom that sets them apart from the young. (Job 12:12; 32:7).
For those with Asian taste buds and can’t fully grasp the concept of aging cheese, the equivalent is the old has eaten more salt than the young has eaten rice.
Call it what we may, cheese or salt, the fact remains that older folk are to impart their wisdom to younger people. (Tit. 2:2-3; Deut. 6:6-9). If our young are not properly taught and trained, the next generation will face severe spiritual challenges.
The Klang church is aging. The members aged above 50 (I am one of these) far outnumber those aged 30 and below. Cumulatively we have a wealth of experience to share with the young people. Let us take it upon ourselves to teach them, if not in a structured manner, then in an informal way, by our faithful conduct and seasoned speech.
In the secular world, when we reach retirement age, we can afford to take life easy. If we are financially able, we don’t have to work. We can enjoy life, travel around the world, take up new hobbies or just lepak around.
But where God is concerned, there’s no retirement age. Christians are to run the race to the end. Octogenarians Anna and Caleb are only two examples. There are plenty more in the Bible: Moses, Abraham, Paul, the list goes on.
Senior citizens can and should continue to serve God actively. In writing this article, I searched the internet for examples of people who serve God in their old age. Then I realise I need not have done so. For there is someone right here in Klang whom I work closely with in the Sunday School – sis Agnes Lopez.
Sis Agnes is 78 years old, but she teaches Sunday School with her granddaughter, Trisha, as her co-teacher. She joined us in our teachers’ planning session. She taught in the Fun Bible Camp, and just last week was on duty at the Open Day. She is a great encouragement to us all, an example of Psa 92:14: “They still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.”
The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair. (Prov. 20:29)
Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you. (Isa. 46:4).
Wisdom is with aged men, And with length of days, understanding. (Job 12:12)
Age should speak, And multitude of years should teach wisdom. (Job 32:7)
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. (Prov. 16:31)