Summary: Why older folk are so important to a healthy family and a healthy church

Gray Is My Favorite Color

Leviticus 19:32

Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister

First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO

Introduction: Today I want to take the occasion of this Memorial Day weekend (or Decoration Day, as they called it when I was a kid) and the middle of our Season of the Family to honor the older folk among us. For our purposes today, I want to define older folk as anyone over the proverbial three score and ten, or seventy years old. How many do we have present today in their 70’s? In their 80’s? Anyone in their 90’s?

Seniors, we want to honor you today. That verse from Leviticus calls for respect and honor for those who are older. It says, “Rise in the presence of the aged.” May I suggest that for a moment we do just that? I would invite all of you under seventy to stand in honor of our older folk. Let’s give them a “hand” as a symbol of our respect and honor. Thank you!

That little verse from Leviticus 19 may seem strange and out of place to some. Leviticus, as you may remember, is named for the Old Testament tribe of Levi. Levi was the family group from which the priests and servants in the tabernacle were to come. The book of Leviticus contains the rules and regulations for the conduct of the Jewish priests, the construction of the tabernacle, and the various offerings and sacrifices that were offered to God. This particular chapter provides an overview of basic Old Testament morality. It is sort of a commentary on how to apply the Ten Commandments. Then in the middle of all of these assorted regulations, seemingly out of nowhere, verse 32 says, “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly…”

That “out of nowhere” admonition might be confusing enough, but note how the verse ends, “and revere your God." I am the LORD.” This little verse in the middle of this chapter reminds us that respect for our elders and reverence for our Creator often go hand in hand. I think it is demonstrably true. A people that appreciates and respects its elderly has a good foundation for its young. Likewise, a church that can honor its past has hope for its future. It is good that we honor our seniors today. I think that today and everyday in this church we ought to be able to say that “gray (hair, that is) is our favorite color. Why do we honor you?

We honor your perseverance. Gwen Chrisman reminds me almost every Sunday morning, “Growing old isn’t for wimps!” A lot of the young couldn’t handle it! Gwen and Floyd were both lying in bed one morning, having just awakened from a good night’s sleep. Floyd reaches over and takes Gwen’s hand. She immediately responds, "Don’t touch me." "Why not," he asks. Gwen answers back, "Because I’m dead." Floyd says to her, "What are you talking about? We’re both lying here in bed talking to one another." Gwen says, "No, I’m definitely dead. I woke up this morning and nothing hurts. I must be dead!"

As one seasoned saint explained, “Old folks are worth a fortune. They have silver in their hair, gold in their teeth, stones in their kidneys, lead in their feet and gas in their stomachs. I have become a lot more social with the passing of the years. Some might even call me a frivolous old gal. I’m seeing five gentlemen every day. As soon as I wake, Will Power helps me get out of bed. Then I go see John. Then Charley Horse comes along. When he is here, he takes a lot of my time and attention. When he leaves, Arthur Ritis shows up and stays the rest of the day. He doesn’t like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint. After such a busy day. I’m really tired and glad to go to bed - with Ben Gay. What a life! The preacher came to call the other day. He said that, at my age, I should be thinking about the hereafter. I told him I do - all the time. No matter where I am - in the living room, upstairs, in the kitchen or down in the basement - I ask myself, "Now what am I here after?"

Someone else has offered this David Letterman style list of the Top Ten Ways to Know You Are Growing Old . . .

1. Everything hurts and what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work.

2. You have a party and the neighbors don’t even realize it.

3. You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.

4. You investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

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