I have just come back from a week-long Christian conference, which a group from my church travelled to. This number included five women and one man who all have comfortably left their working lives and enjoy the freedoms of retirement. Two of my close friends from university joined us for the week and on the last night, I stayed up late chatting to one of them. He spoke enthusiastically of how he was inspired by spending time with those members of my church, all from a generation which is missing from his church which is filled with young adults.
This stirred me into a spiel of the stories of those who weren’t there that week. There’s the couple who have gone through considerable physical pain and trial for much of their lives who, instead of walking away from God, spend more and more time during their retirement drawing close to Him in prayer and through reading the scriptures.
Or there’s the man who came to Christ just eight years ago who, despite having lost much wealth and more besides, feels richer in Christ than he ever was before that. There’s the old lady with a degenerative disease, whose zeal and passion to see people come to know Jesus inspires and challenges all those who come in contact with her. Believe me, these stories are just the tip of the iceberg.
When we see a forest of grey before us in church, many thoughts shoot through our minds. If we’re honest, those thoughts are mostly negative. I won’t deny there are plenty of churches that operate as little more than social clubs for OAPs. But don’t make that judgement before you’ve even spoken to them. You see, the older saints are the treasury of the Church.
All believers hope that they will continue to be steadfast and grow in their faith. Time takes its toll on all our bodies and minds and the silver generation is the encouragement for us young upstarts as we begin to run the race of faith. They are the ones who have faced the trials and tribulations, the trauma and tragedy, spiritually, emotionally and physically, yet still stand firm.
The beauty of the Church is that it shows no regard for colour, race, socio-economic background, gender, political views or age but draws people together around the person of Jesus Christ. My hope is that this thread might inspire you to not just look up to the older saints in the church but, like me, call them friend.
Photo credit: Andrea Mucelli