For the past few weeks I have been teaching a Bible class for older folks. I don’t believe there is anyone in the class under 65 or so. Since, in a few days I will be the ripe old age of 68, I feel right at home. At the moment, we are working our way through Leviticus, one of those seldom-studied books. It’s full of instructions for all kinds of offerings enabling a holy God to live among a very unholy people. A lot could be said about that but, at the moment, I am thinking more about age than holiness.
Old age is, among other things, interesting. For one thing, sitting still, I don’t feel old. It is only when I get up and try to move around quickly that my body reminds me that it has seen better days. I wake up in the morning with plans to accomplish the same things I did at, say, forty. As the day progresses, reality sets in: I’m nowhere near the capabilities of forty. It is disappointing. Still, I keep at it as best I can.
One of my older-than-me friends tells me there are perks that come along with age. People want to help you. They open doors for you and ask if you need a hand. Young women smile at you and don’t consider you a threat. You get senior discounts. That’s all I can think of right now. I think, however, I would trade these “perks” for more “pep.” Yes, I would trade it all for pain-free hips, knees, a well-behaved back, and being considered more dangerous in the eyes of young women.
The ranks of the “older folks” are bursting at the seams. The solvency of Social Security and Medicare systems are threatened. I notice more and more advertisements aimed our way. Care facilities for older folks (skilled nursing, assisted living, etc.) are popping up everywhere. Movies are being made about old codgers and biddies (good news for our aging actors). I’m glad I don’t have to go through this “aging process” alone.
So how should you young folks respond to all this? Well, Leviticus provides a good answer. “You shall rise before the gray-headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32). OK, I know it’s the Old Testament and the Law of Moses and all that but I still think it’s a good idea.