At one time in my church, there was no one under 50 years old. Last January, I told a couple of women in my church that my mother just turned 75 and they were like – “oh my word, she’s very young.” I love seniors, they are fun to hang out with. You learn a lot from them. Their wisdom, and strength rub off just by hanging with them. But other times they can come across as being too set in their ways. Here are 11 things I usually tell them:
The internet/ technology/ social media is not of the devil
Yes! The internet is sometimes used for great evil but it can also be used for great good. It all depends who’s using it and for what purpose. So, learn how to use it and use it for uplifting and educational purposes.
The world has always been evil
Sometimes when seniors talk about the evil in the world, it almost sounds like things were not that bad back in the day. There has always been wars and rumors of war, homosexuality, porn and bad governments and presidents. So look to one (Jesus) who makes all things new and celebrate the good things he’s doing.
It’s time to retire the butterfly collar
I think seniors have a great sense of style. They usually dress up in the style of dressing that was popular at some time in their lives. Remember those bag bottoms and polyester suits? I encourage seniors to try new styles – something they can identify with, but at the same time is current and fresh. And you know what, they hate me for it. They just don’t listen to me. And you know what? It’s totally fine.
Your bad habit is killing you
Sometimes I visit the hospitals or the home of very Ill seniors and I meet them smoking, drinking or doing drugs. Interestingly, it’s the very thing that is killing them. I tell them this cigarette is killing you – get rid of it.
Stop living in the past
It’s cool to reminisce about the past, but if you are stuck in the past you can miss the present and what the future has in store. I encourage seniors to remember the glorious past but also to look for greater things. God’s promise to them is that their latter will be greater than the past.
Stop acting like you’ve never made a mistake in your life
I don’t know about your experience with your parents, but my paps used to act like he never made a single mistake in his life. Frankly, I thought he was a saint. Not until the day his childhood friend started sharing his dirty laundry. Man, it wasn’t pretty.
There is a lot out there you can still learn
Curiosity is the desire to learn or know more about something or someone. Plutarch once said, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” Curiosity is the very thing that fuels life.
Gray hair does not make you wise
I have met many seniors in my short life with gray hair. For some, the wisdom that comes from their lips speak to their long life of living in godly wisdom and from their many years of great experiences. But I assure you that I’ve met others the opposite.
When you dye your hair, do it well.
My mother turned 75 few weeks ago. While I was there, she made me cut her hair. I noticed that she had dyed her hair because the dye was fading. So I told her, “mama you would look great without your dye, I don’t know why you want to dye your hair, I am not going to judge you, but when you do it do it well, and do it at set times so you don’t go around with your hair looking like this.
Stop being a party pooper
Sometimes seniors complain about the church being too playful. They complain about how kids play video games at youth group, and how the church is almost like a social club. They want to see a bit more fasting and praying and some serious bible studies. Sometimes their inner fundamentalism comes out too strong. So I tell seniors it’s okay to have a bit of fun in church. For most of us who grew up in fundamentalism, we were all anti fun, too dumb and a little mental. But we’ve come to understand that The Lord is good with his children having a great time in him.
God is not finished with you yet
She was approaching her eighties and had been the church’s pianist for about half that time. Suddenly they had a new pastor and he told her that her ministry was over because he was going to introduce newer songs she could play. She left her church and started coming to my church. As she wept in my office one afternoon, I told her God is not done with you yet. I know you can’t play newer songs or keep up with the new things God is doing, but there is so much you can still do. So I used her occasionally with the entire band, had her play at altar times, or share a song that was dear to her heart. I used her at Throw Back Thursday, where she led other seniors in worship at their luncheon. As long as there is breath in your lungs – God can still use you.