How Should We Treat The Elderly?
I came across this in a newspaper. During the summer of 2003, thousands died all across Europe as a result of one of the worst heat waves to hit the continent in 60 years. Most of the dead were the elderly. The newspaper reported that in Paris alone, 450 corpses were left unclaimed. Now, here's my question, "In what kind of condition are we living that we forget about our fathers, mothers, grandparents?"
Our creator has keen interest in the elderly. In fact his word the Bible, gives us directions on how they are to be treated.
Let's consider them together.
God's law given to Moses promoted respect for the elderly. The law stated : "Before gray hair you should rise up, and you must show consideration for the person of an old man." (Leviticus19:32) Obedient worshippers of God were expected to "rise up" before the elderly, signifying ;
- as a sign of respect for an old person and,
- and evidence of the worshipers reverential fear of God.
Although Christians today are not under the Mosaic Law, it's principles reveal the thoughts and priorities of the true God, leaving no doubt that he holds the elderly in high regard.
As servants of God, we need no legislation to treat older ones with dignity and respect. Here's the example of Joseph, who spared no expense in bringing his elderly father to Egypt, saving the 130 year old Jacob from a widespread famine. On catching sight of his father for the first time in more than two decades, Joseph "at one fell upon his neck and gave way to tears upon his neck again and again. " (Genesis 46:29)
God does not abandon his loyal ones. The psalmist prayed: "Do not throw me away in the times of old age ; just when my power is falling, do leave me. " God does not throw away his faithful servants even when they themselves may feel that they have outlived their time of usefulness. The psalmist did not feel abandoned by God;rather, he recognized his own need to rely on his maker even more as he grew older.
In view of the above, it is clear a that those who want to honor God must also honor the elderly. Old ones are indeed precious in the eyes of our creator. As creatures made in his image, may we always manifest a godly view of "gray headedness.".