August 2019 Web Article
“We Have Warriors Among Us.”
August 21st is Senior Citizen Day in America. This is not a public holiday and the first one recognition of Senior Citizen Day was declared by President Ronald Reagan. It is a day set aside, though not given official status, as a day to acknowledge our senior citizens and what they have accomplished and their value to our world. It is a little easier for me to say this year as I am officially a senior citizen myself now. No, not retired, just semi-retired, and yes, collecting Social Security. Yet, being still on the young side of being a senior citizen allows me to look both forward and in hindsight about this generation of Americans and brothers and sisters in Christ.
No need for me to say we live in a youth-oriented society, we all know this. There have been some subtle changes though. Senior Living facilities are popping up like dandelions in my yard. Television adds about all sort of treatments and equipment for helping senior citizens with their health and safety are played all the time. Fashion and music and movies and television shows still aim for the youth (though it is amazing how many of the old game shows have been revamped for younger audiences). I do remember when as a younger person feeling like too much advice came from the “snow topped” sages who are just “not in step with the times.” I had failed at seeing how these “elderly” people were in fact warriors of the faith.
When you see a senior citizen remember they were the ones who put a man on the moon. They had and still have vision and courage. They fought for freedom in World War 2 and Korea and fought in Viet Nam. They helped build America’s industrial might.
Let’s also remember that the generations before us gave us cars, television, telephones, modern medicine, computers, air travel. They have been the ones who ran companies, build homes and schools and hospitals and have decades of experience in matters of ethics, decision making and faith.
There were countless churches and Bible colleges, seminaries, mission groups and publishers and books, music, videos, films etc. that were started by these warriors. They stood up for their faith and built churches that took a stand against a world trying to pull us apart and lead us into areas that would pull us from God.
No, senior citizens are not perfect and have made mistakes (I speak for myself as well in this). But let us now forget Scripture that gives us insight in how to see and treat our elders:
- Matthew 7:1-5 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
- Psalm 71:9 ESV “Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.”
- Proverbs 20:29 ESV “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.”
- 1 Timothy 5:1-2 “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.”
- Job 12:12 “Wisdom belongs to the aged and understanding to the old.”
- 1 Kings 12:6 “There were some older men who had helped Solomon make decisions when he was alive. So, King Rehoboam asked these men what he should do. He said, “How do you think I should answer the people?””
- Job 32:7 “I thought, ‘Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.’”
We have warriors among us, not elderly but elders, honored ones, wise ones, tried and true, yes human but also children of God. Make them part of your life, family, church, business. Then next time you see someone with a walker, a wheelchair, a cane, hearing aids and slow to walk with many health issues, remember, these are battle scared and tested warriors of God, treat them with the respect and honor they deserve. For one day that will be you.
Jim Vogt Cornerstone Chaplain