Proverbs 1:5 - A wise [man] will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. (KJV)
Psalms 145:4 - One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. (KJV)
1 Peter 5:5-7 - Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (KJV)
Psalms 71:18 - Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto [this] generation, [and] thy power to every one [that] is to come. (KJV)
Every Tuesday, I take a trip to our senior citizens nursing homes to fellowship and teach our weekly Bible study. I am amazed at the number of men and women that have lived their lives serving God in the nursing home. There are more women at this nursing home than men. I thank God for these men and women as they allow me to be a part of their lives and the wisdom they impart to me. Many of the seniors have sharp minds, although their bodies are not functioning as it once was. So to the utmost, I show them respect and remember my training.
In my interaction with them, I found myself in the presence of quite a few centenarians. Being among them, I felt like a small child just learning about life. I thought, “I may have a little educational knowledge, but they have a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and experience. So take note of their wisdom and learn.” They have seen the world change from simplicity to complicated, such as the first telephone invention to the cellular phones, computers, and the Internet.
Seniors saints have seen life come and go. And pretty soon as I visit with them year by year, they come and go also. However, I can’t help but think though some are gone, they are still here with me because I carry their memories. Their memories have become my memories; we are woven together. My tapestry of life looks different than when I didn’t know them. They are the keys to our future. I am grateful.
Sometimes the senior saints share with me their life stories. They share their loved ones' memories that have gone on before them. I am amazed at the number of women still with us today who are centenarians; they have longevity. Many of them had been married for sixty years or more. They had no sad stories to tell; they had only good memories of their spouses. I loved watching their eyes light up when they shared memories of their spouses. When I asked one lady the secret to having a successful long marriage, she said, “Don’t give up on it. Forgive one another, and learn to laugh with each other. Remember, we all have struggles and make mistakes; nobody is perfect.”
Many of them were and are farmers' wives, teachers, store clerks, factory workers, domestic laborers, housewives, and pastors' wives. The men in the nursing home were farmers, construction workers, plumbers, pastors, road evangelists, veterans, bankers, teachers, opera singers, and musicians, what a wealth of experiences and talents.
They all had one thing in common besides living in the same nursing home; it was their love for Christ and the love of the old hymns. So you guessed it! When I go to visit with them, we always sing hymn after hymn. No matter how immobile their bodies may be or how some do not remember me from week to week, they always remember the old hymns, word for word, when the singing begins. It is so refreshing to see them when I come to visit them; usually, they are always sleeping in their wheelchairs. But when the singing of the old hymns begins, they come to life and began to sing to the glory of the Lord.
This is remarkable to me because I have to have the songbook to remember the verses of the old hymns. But they have no problems remembering the verses. What a testament to their training and commitment to God. In the nursing home, they come from many different denominations of the Christian faith. But they all love Christ and have served him in some way or capacity in the church. When we are there, we are bound together by the love of Christ, the hearing of the written word, the singing, and Christian companionship. How sweet it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together in unity and the fellowship of Christ. Beautiful!
What a joy they are to us! Because I love hearing their take on life, I often asked them, " What is the secret to their long life?" No matter which one I ask the question, they usually tell me it is the good Lord's business. Or another might tell me they don't know why God allowed them to stay so long on the earth, but they are grateful, and they have had a good life.
Usually I asked them one more question on my visits, "What is the most important lesson you want to give me about life?" They said to love God, treat people like you want to be treated, love your spouse, love your family, and invest time and interest in friendships. In the end, family and friends is what really matters. Life is short, so may the most out of it.
We do get around to our Bible study after the fellowship, prayer, and singing. The Bible study is the crescendo of the visit. Senior saints are our future and not our past. They hold the keys to places we are going as young people. They've already been tried, tested, and proven faithful to Christ. They know the paths of life we are traveling, because they have traveled them over and over again. They have been there before. They know the signs, the twists and the turns on the road. The not so obvious markings on this road of life they know how to navigate them. Because of their knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, they are familiar with the unknown not seen with our natural eyes or the senses. So, pull up a chair! Go visit those in the nursing homes. Listen and learn. What once was is and what is was.