When most people hear the term, “senior moment,” they tend to think of . . . “What were we talking about?” Senior moments are euphemisms for forgetfulness or loss of memory.
Others may associate being a senior with retirement and relaxation. “I’ve worked hard all my life. It’s time for me to do what I want.” You can find seniors on cruise ships, golf courses, ski slopes, and in RVs.
I want to suggest that senior moments are opportunities to serve and minister to others. Senior moments may be times when we make the greatest contribution to the kingdom of God. In that sense, life should be filled with senior moments.
I began thinking about this subject when asked to speak at a “Senior Spring Fling” luncheon at our church. What do I have in common with a senior citizen? Granted, I may be AARP qualified, but I’m also in denial. But how could I encourage and challenge the folks?
I began to think about senior citizens in the Bible. Once I got going, I was surprised to discover how many there were. I was also amazed at the significant contributions they made to the kingdom of God.
The youngster of the group was a woman from the town of Shunem (2 Kings 4:8-17). According to verse 14, she was older when she became a parent. Generous and giving, she had a ministry of hospitality and encouragement to the prophet Elisha.
While we don’t know their ages, Luke 1:5-25 indicates that Zechariah and Elizabeth were advanced in years, which is a polite term for “really old.” It was then that God challenged them to believe the impossible that they could become parents. And not just any parents, but parents of the one who would prepare the way for Jesus. For many of us, we tend to relax our standards and habits as we get older. Older parents tend to give in easier to their children. But Zechariah and Elizabeth had to parent with intentionality and discipline as they raised John the Baptist, so that he was prepared for his upcoming ministry.
Most people are heading for the rocking chair at the age of 80. Many are set in their ways and unable to change. And yet, Moses met God shortly after his 80th birthday and discovered the nature of holiness (Exodus 3). He was given an assignment to serve God as the deliverer of Israel.
As many people get older, they tend to relax or lose their inhibitions. Who they are inside becomes more visible. If that is true, then I want to be like Anna (Luke 2:36-38). At the age of 84, she had a ministry of prayer, along with worship and fasting. Once she met Jesus, she couldn’t stop telling people about him.
At the age of 85 years old, Caleb didn’t ask for his rocking chair. He asked for a new challenge—the most difficult territory in the Promised Land (Joshua 14:6-12). In doing so, he served as an inspiration and mentor to his nephew, Othniel (Judges 1:11-15).
The attitude of Caleb reminds me of my mother. After she retired from work, she went on her first ministry trip to Japan, all by herself. She even went back a second time and did office work for a Japanese church. She bought her first computer at the age of 80. Senior moments should be time for new challenges.
At the ages of 100 and 90 respectively, Abraham and Sarah became parents for the first time (Genesis 17:15-21). They had to believe that nothing was too hard for God. In doing so, they accepted God’s assignment for their life—beginning a new family and a new nation.
Tradition tells us that Simeon (Luke 2:25-35) was 113 years old when he met the baby Jesus in the temple. While we don’t know his age for certain, we do know that he knew the Scriptures and was sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He looked forward to the coming of Jesus. As seniors grow older, their faith should be growing deeper as well.
Many seniors tend to become negative, cynical, and complaining as they grow older. Not so with Jacob (Genesis 49). At the age of 147, he blessed his sons, and pictured a positive future for each of them. His thoughts were focused on the promises of God.
These ten individuals remind me that no matter our age, we still have something to contribute to the kingdom of God. It may be a ministry of prayer or hospitality. It may be a generous spirit that gives to support ministry. It may be an example of faith that inspires others to follow. It may be a positive outlook that trusts God for the future.
Life should be filled with senior moments.