As we grow older our ability to do many things diminishes. Physical strength wanes. Energy dries up. Yet, the apostle Paul makes it clear that spiritual vitality is one thing that should increase with the years. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” 2 Corinthians 4:16. Yet limited physical abilities may keep an aging loved one from recognizing how they are still a vital member of the body of Christ.
Why Older Believers May Feel Disenfranchised
Often older members of the church are limited on what they can participate in at church by physical limitations. These saints may have trouble with their night vision which keeps them from attending evening mid-week services or special nighttime events. Failing strength may keep them from volunteering to fill many roles. They may begin to feel left out because they can’t do as much as they once could and often stop being a part of the church.
How Older Believers Can Remain Integral
But, the church suffers when it is characterized by youth with no godly wisdom and input from more experienced believers. You can help your elderly family member or friends see how the body needs their ministry, even if that ministry looks different now than it did when they were younger.
The next time you are at the Christian bookstore, consider picking up a few religious gifts that could help your loved one stay engaged with the body. What kinds of religious gifts? Here are a few suggestions.
1. One on One Discipling
Older men and women are instructed in Titus Chapter 2 to be not only be Godly examples but Godly trainers in righteous living. Older saints can still meet one on one with younger men and women and read through the scriptures, books on theology or histories of the saints. They don’t even have to leave home to do it. Young saints can come to them.
2. Card Writing
Older saints who have trouble reading, can still have a vital card ministry. Sending cards to new moms, young fathers, struggling businessmen, the ill, fresh converts and even to the pastoral staff is a great way to share the love and wisdom of Christ with the next generation.
Prayer is one of the most powerful tools Jesus left for His children on earth, and yet it is perhaps one of the least utilized. Older saints have fewer distractions in life and can spend time in earnest prayer for church members, the priest or pastor and missionary outreach. Only in heaven will the church discover how much forward kingdom movement was empowered by such prayers.
The truth is that the church is growing older and we need to find a way not only to reach young converts, but to keep older saints integral to the life of the body. If you have an older loved one, pick up a few religious gifts (devotional books, prayer journals, stationary) to help them pour out on others the overflowing grace God has poured into them through a lifetime. Check out these religious gifts and others at The Printery House.