(August 30, 2020)
It was during a Monday night prayer meeting… I looked around the sanctuary… and I saw treasures. Priceless treasures. Silver and Gold. Yes, I saw the silver in their hair, and the gold in their teeth. I am speaking of the treasure of our elders.
Elders. These are the people who have been around the block and down the road. Multiple times. They have seen it come, and they have seen it go. They have been through good times, and not-so-good times. These are those who have planted roots and stayed, when many others would not. These are the ones who have served. They have served their country. They have served their community. They have served their church. They have served their families. These are they who remember when, and yet look forward with hope, to the future. They remember what God did then, and they use that memory to fuel the hope for the future.
These men and women are the pillars of stability in a church. They are the foundation stones of a congregation. Why? Because they remain faithful. They show up early. They work hard. They stay late. These are our examples. These are our mentors. These are the sacrificial givers. These are the ones who do without, so the others may have. These are the prayer warriors. These are the Bible readers. These are the worshippers. Their bodies may not allow them to dance and run anymore, but inside, they are!
These are the ones who may not be the first to speak, but when they do, they usually have something of value to share. There is an interesting story in the Old Testament, (found it 1 Kings 12 and 2 Chronicles 10) about Solomon’s son Rehoboam. When he ascended to the throne after his father’s death, he went to two groups of counselors for advice. One was the elders, the other was his own peers. Sadly, he followed the advice of his peers, and it cost him a large portion of his kingdom!
Granted, advanced age does not automatically make you an “elder”. Peter in his letter to the church writes, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:1-6). That word “ensample” means a “die” or a “model” (for imitation). I am glad that we have these “models” in our church!
Let me end with this verse in the God’s Word Translation (GWT): “Show respect to the elderly, and honor older people. In this way you show respect for your God. I am the Lord." (Leviticus 19:32 GWT). It is very clear here, that when we honor our elders, we honor God.
Elders, we honor you!