Japanese mountain climber Yuichiro Miura reached the summit of Mount Everest at age 70. George Brunstad was also 70 when he swam the English Channel. Naval officer Grace Hopper became the first female rear admiral of the United States Navy when she was 79. Margaret Haggerty completed her quest to run a marathon on each of the seven continents when she was 84.
If stories like these teach us anything, it’s that senior adults are capable of amazing things.
That was certainly true of Joshua. Even though he was probably nearing the century mark, God had a plan for him. Age didn’t matter to God. Rather than telling Joshua to rest, retire or step aside for a younger replacement, God instructed him to get to work.
Perhaps we should take a cue from God in our attitude toward older adults. From an early age most of us were taught to respect our elders. However, too often we confuse politeness for respect. What’s the difference? Politeness might include offering a hand to senior adults when they struggle with steps or making awkward small talk with aging relatives at family gatherings. Respect, however, would include realizing that with their years of challenges and experiences these adults are a rich, God-given resource.
In this age of politically correct labels, perhaps a better name for senior citizens is “ultra-experienced adults.” God entrusted Joshua with an important duty a quarter century after Joshua reached retirement age because of his vast military experience and knowledge.
Think of the older adults you know. How does God want to use them in your life? What experiences of theirs might benefit you? What life lessons have they learned that might keep you from making a bad decision? And what might you be able to learn from hearing their stories and asking for their advice?
To Take Away
How would you describe your attitude toward senior adults?
Think of two or three seniors you know. What might getting to know them better add to your life?
What steps can you take this week to build a mutually beneficial relationship with an older adult?