I can easily understand the loneliness, the boredom, the desire for excitement that stirs within the soul of the elderly saint who once had a vibrant active life. Often the mind thinks young but the body acts old. Too often the church and society in general looks only to youth for answers, action, and ambition. The elderly feel that they have been put on the shelf. They often sense that no one is interested in their contribution to society or the church or the God’s work. Others because of their physical limitations in old age may be confined to a bed, a wheelchair, a walker, or a cane. The world rushes by while they wish they had the energy to ride along. This is a struggle many elderly people face. With that we sympathize.
I wish to emphatically state my “not so humble opinion” however, that effectiveness for Christ is not over at 62 years of age or 72 or 82 or 92! I never will forget old Sis. Neukirk. She was one of the saints at the Woodward, OK Church of God (Holiness) during my first pastorate. A time came in her life when due to bronchial problems she was not able to sleep in bed. She got very little rest. She declined in health until she finally was not able to come to church. I visited her often in her home. On one of these visits she told me, “Bro. Woods, I count this sickness to be a blessing from God. Since I cannot sleep much the Lord has allowed me to have more time to pray. I pray throughout the night and day as I sit here in my recliner.” That was a tremendous encouragement to a young pastor!
I fear that with many elderly people a tragic thing has happened. I fear that when some retire from their job they also retire from God’s work. I fear that those who have been intercessors for years because of the boredom and slowness of their lives have turned from the powerful work of intercession to the playful entertainment of the television. I can understand how this fulfills a need in their lives. It helps them get through the long lonely days and nights. It brings excitement, virtual activity and interest to a life that seems dull, uninteresting and uninformed. Is the devil using modern technology to subtly undermine the powerful ministry of prayer among the elder saints? You make that determination for your own life. There is no time for us to give in, let down or quit. Intercessors pick up your prayer list and turn off your television!
by Dr. Gayle Woods