Summary: This is a message to Senior Adults using the Old Testament story of Barzillai as a backdrop.
In the book, “Chicken Soup for the Golden Soul,” Nardi Campion says, “ We true prime-timers were here before the pill, the population explosion and disposable diapers. We were here before ‘senior citizens.’
We were here before Ann Landers, Grandma Moses and the Kinsey Report. We were here before facelifts, tummy tucks, Liposuction and hair transplants. We thought cleavage was what butchers did. We were here before sex changes. Before Viagra. We just made do with what we had.
We were here before computers. A mouse pad was where the mouse hung out. To log-on was to add wood to fire. Hardware meant hardware and software wasn’t even a word. A hard drive was a long, grueling journey. A CD was something you invested in. Windows were for looking out of. A virus was a flu bug that people caught. Backing up was something you never wanted to happen to your toilet.
We were here before vitamins, Jeeps, Pizza, Cheerios, instant coffee, decaffeinated anything, light anything, and McDonald’s. We thought fast food was when you ate during lent. If we had been asked to explain VCR, CIA, NATO, UFO, PMS, GNP, MBA, BMW, SDI, NFL, PSA and ATM, we’d have said ‘alphabet soup.’
We prime-timers are a hardy bunch when you think of how our world has changed, all we have learned and the adjustments we have made. I’m pretty proud of us.
Let’s keep in touch. Just e-mail me, send a fax, leave a message on my answer machine or call me on my cell phone. If I don’t answer, tell my voicemail you called – after the beep leave your name, your number and a brief message and I’ll get back with you as soon as I can. If you need me quickly, call me on my pager .If all else fails, come on over to my house, take a seat in one of the rockers on my porch and we’ll visit the old fashion way – face to face and in person – and let the rest of the world go by.” (Used By Permission)
In the churches today the above 50 crowd is referred to as: West of 50, prime–timers, keenagers or hill- toppers and a whole assortment of other names.
According to a George Barna release, the 50-up crowd will be the largest in our churches. They’re coming! Get ready, church, to minister to them. Don’t discard them and relegate to them to the past. Motive them, love them, and be sensitive to them. They may not know what a floppy disc is, but they do know how to pray.
Let me talk with a person a while and I’ll ask them questions about their attitude toward the elderly.
I will know immediately their spiritual maturity. If they chuckle or make light of an elderly person’s grammar or speech, I will know their attitude is sick.
Let me talk with a deacon. I will ask, “Have you been ministering to the needs of our elderly, our widows, our sick, our dying?”
Being a deacon has nothing to do with prestige or power. It has everything to do with service and ministry.
Today I want to challenge this church to open its heart even wider to our elderly.
I want to challenge our West of 50 crowd to know that life before 60 is nothing but a warm up.
Barzillai is the Senior Adult in our lesson today. We are introduced to him in II Samuel 17 where he was a part of a group who helped supply David with food and supplies in the war with Absalom.That group looked at David’s rag tag army and said, “ The people are hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.”
He had a big heart and freely gave. He must have been a very wealthy man.David never forgot this kind deed. Later on, David met him and offered to bring him to his palace and let him serve there.What a golden opportunity for Barzillai! But he did not seem to be interested in this new venture.
II Samuel 19:35 records his answer to David. Barzillai said,“I am this day fourscore years old, and can I discern between good and evil? Can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? Wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king?”
Basically, he’s saying, “ I’m too old. My discernment is gone. My taste is almost totally gone. My hearing is bad. I would just be in the way. I would be a liability and not an asset. I don’t want to be a burden.”
Many Senior Adults feel this way. You feel you have lost your cutting edge.
You feel that your best days are behind you.