Last night we joined some other families from Emmaus Bible Church at a nursing home. We were able to sing, study the Bible and pray with them. It was truly a blessing.
Along the way something strange happened to us. The gentleman that I was talking to, Ernest, told me all about his wife and 6 children. He spoke of how he farmed and loved his kids. He told me he has loved Jesus for many years and he loves the Bible. Then he stood up. He was probably 5’10″ and looked like he was still in pretty good shape. After I gave him a compliment he told me that he was 96 years old! Crazy. Then he shook my 12-year-old’s hand and challenged him to “Squeeze it! Squeeze it harder!!”
My 16-year-old son sat with a woman who also looked young but was not. She was 95. Come to find out she also grew up on a farm in Central Nebraska. Her grandfather was a homesteader, and they lived in a cave carved out of a hill for 2 years while they built their home. Apparently she had incurred some degree of a reputation as a young lady for jumping on wild horses by grabbing them by the manes and riding them bare back.
After the evening our family talked about what we had learned. One thing that struck out to my kids was the fact that these people have lived. I mean really lived. One of our kids called them a super-hero.
What have we lost as a culture when we find ourselves so utterly fixated on the ability of a 20 year old kid to dunk a basketball or a pop artist’s voice? We have real live, time-tested legends all around us. As a culture they are not seen to be as valuable. Their appearance is not attractive enough and their stories are not compelling enough to hold our attention. I, for one, feel something of a social rebuke. Can you identify?
As Christians we ought not to think of the elderly as lacking value. As image bearers and as those who have gone before us, we know that they have a great deal to say. God has providentially worked in and through their many years for his glory. We can listen to their stories and marvel at God’s goodness and sovereignty even as times change. They also remind us of our own frailty and mortality. This is especially good for us to think through and live in light of regularly.