Growing In Grace - A Pine Valley UMC Ministry story celebrating Senior Citizens Day

This aging thing happens very quickly.  One day you are young, your children are young and then they get older, even though you don’t.  It is a shock one day when you look in the mirror and see gray hairs and wrinkles!  We hardly recognize this person.  When did this happen?!  I heard a very true saying, “Old is always 20 years older than you are!”  Here is my disclaimer:  if you are not a “senior,” “seasoned,” “old,” “mature,” “aging,” “aged,” “elderly,” etc., please know that I am NOT calling you a senior citizen!  If this is you, then I want to celebrate you because August 21 is Senior Citizen Day!

Because I have only been at Pine Valley United Methodist Church a short while, I am still learning names and groups that do so many wonderful things in the name of Jesus.  Many of them are senior citizens and they are a huge help  to our church!  If you notice our marquis on Shipyard Blvd., it is a senior couple who update it!  Our food pantry is run by senior citizens.  One group I have been blessed to get to know are our office volunteers!  The office volunteers greet visitors, answer the phones, sort out our past bulletins so we can recycle the inserts, register the pew pad attendance, and make sure we are aware of visitors, keep up with Sunday school attendance, help get bulletins ready for the following week and many other things on an “as needed” basis!  

I do not like to say office “volunteers” because they are servants.  Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  These office servants have fun while volunteering!  I think they like seeing the “lighter side” of the staff and how they interact.  I have learned who comes in when.  I have learned when it is going to be loud with laughter - which I love! I have learned who loves to sing and who loves to dance!  I have learned when the cheese and crackers are brought!  I have learned who invites to church every person who comes in to get medical equipment!      

A lot of things can make growing old difficult and even miserable.  First thing that comes to mind is the aches and pains, deteriorating health, death of friends and loved ones, losing touch with society, being home-bound, financial issues, etc. Paul reminds us these things are temporary.  We can age more gracefully if we have an attitude of gratitude recognizing that “inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

Psalm 92:14-15, “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”  I like the AMPC translation, “[Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment]. [They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”  Whether we are young or old, we all have something to offer God. Even though we may not be able to do the same things we did when we were younger, we can still bear much fruit. We must teach the younger generations.  Psalm 71:18, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”  

As long as the Lord has us here, He has some ministry for us to do for the next generation and future generations!  Titus 2:2-3, “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.”  Your wisdom needs to be shared!  My mom has always told me that we never retire from doing God’s work.  As Pastor Tim says, “If you ain’t dead, you ain’t done.”  There are many scriptures with promises of blessing in old age so we should be rejoicing instead of being grumpy and complaining.  Psalm 92:12-14, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green…”  We are to serve in old age!

Proverbs 16:31, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.”  Leviticus 19:32, “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.”  I pray that we may live a life pleasing to God.  I also pray that the younger generations will honor the older, respect them and learn from them!  I praise God for their example and witness!

Hopefully, we will reach old age and we may relate to the psalmist who wrote in Psalm 71:9, “Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.”  God answers these prayers.  May we be like David in Psalm 37:25, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” May we all continue to grow in grace!

Happy Senior Citizens Day!  You are loved and appreciated!