Friday, July 19, 2019

UNWANTED: Tried, Worn, and Seasoned Saints!

"They still bear fruit in old age,
they are ever full of sap and
green. (Psalm 92:14 - KJV)
I'm generally not over sensitive when it comes to the topic of aging.  I've spent quite a few years learning how to grow older gracefully and embrace my senior years. Although some of you might disagree after reading today's post! That's okay.  I still hope that you won't miss a significant point I'm trying to make!!

In a discussion regarding the improvement of a ministry project I was involved in, it was inferred that it would be more successful if a younger face was in the forefront!  Older and more biblical saints would still be needed of course, but to attract the younger generation we needed someone that looked more like them!   This was said I believe with the utmost sincerity and respect yet it left me (what is that popular saying?)  Feeling some kinda way!

 Ageism had finally crept into my safe and sanctified church world! Subtly but deftly it left its mark not only on the Lord's ministry but on my soul!  Like the corporate culture I left behind in retirement and media marketing strategies that assault my intellect and logic daily, this worldly attitude had found its way to a place I really cared about!

In case this is a new ism for you, check out an excerpt from the article: How Does Ageism Impact More Than Just Older Adults?

 Ageism is a type of discrimination that involves prejudice against people based on their age.  Similar to racism and sexism, ageism involves holding negative stereotypes about people of different age.  
The term ageism was first used by gerontologist Robert N. Butler to describe the discrimination of older adults. Today, the term is often applied to any type of age-based discrimination, whether it involves prejudice against children, teenagers, adults, or senior citizens.
(click or past the link below to read entire article)

Put this within the context of ministry and you'll understand where I'm coming from.  The thought that age could be a deterrent to a Spirit led ministry devalues the contributions of  older saints while making unproven assumptions upon the younger generation!  Where did this all come from?  Certainly not the Bible!  

There are more than forty scriptures pertaining to aging in the bible.  Most are incredibly positive and encouraging.  (Psalm 92:12-14; Joel 2:28; Ecc. 12:1-7; I Chron. 29:28; Psalm 71:1718; Ruth 4:15; Job 11:17; Psalm 91:16; Isaiah 40:29; Prov. 16:31; Isaiah 46:4; Job. 12:12; Psalm 92:14; Psalm 71:9; Lev. 19:32; Prov. 20:20, etc.)  Yet some Christians' present obsession with youth have turned hearts and minds from multi-generational kingdom building to one-generational!  

What comes to mind is that in our desperation to reach what some have called "a morally decaying younger generation,"we've ignored a powerful force in their lives ... the older generation!  True, physically we may not be around as long, but the vibrancy and potency of our biblically rich experience and wisdom is very much needed today!  Some just don't know it yet!

It always amazes me that although there are many popular success icons among the young (entertainers, sports figures, YouTube stars, etc) that the more sustainable ones are from the older generation.  They are not the celebrities they see in the movies or on television but people they see every day! These are generally relatives, people who have influenced them personally, inspired and encouraged them over the years.

They are people they have watched and are more knowledgeable; committed, and experienced.  They have the stability, passion and discipline that only comes with maturity.  When young people look to the future and focus on the goals they want to achieve and the legacies they want to leave, it is upon an older face already there that their gaze falls upon! 

Don't tell me older people cannot relate to the younger ones simply because we don't embrace facebook, twitter, or instagram as our favorite mode of communication.  We understand that more honesty and feeling can be conveyed, face to face and eye to eye than could ever be transmitted with a contrived or cute emoji!  We are survivors of all those traumatic relationship disasters and head games they are experiencing now and we made it to the other side!  But will they be able to do the same without us?  I think not!

78 year old Bernie Sanders still holds a political advantage among young people in the 2020 presidential race.  The Obamas in their 50s remain popular although no longer in the White House.  Oprah pushing through her 60s  is still ruling among the secular entertainers. Andy Stanley at 61 years old and Tony Evans at 70 years old can still reach and hold the attention of a younger audience.  And if you're a senior saint, over the age of 50 years old so can you!

Remember the words of the Apostle Paul that is appropriate for ANY age!  (I Tim. 4:12 MSG  My emphasis added in parenthesis!)

"Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young (old or middle age). Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use."


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