I attended a conference last week at our Baptist assembly in Talladega. The weather was picture-perfect and it was a great several days of instruction and fellowship. An added bonus was the senior adult group that met last week also. We shared meals and were invited to their evening activities, including “Doo Wop Night.” It was a lot of fun singing the songs of our youth along with our entertainer.
Mr. Taylor, camp director, had a little fun with the group when he noted that though the seniors were a smaller group than the campers who met the week before, the seniors had the distinction of draining the ice cream machine every day!
It’s common in today’s churches to provide a children’s service apart from the adults, and youth services, too. Though I can understand the dynamics of worship tailored to an age group, I do lament the loss of corporate worship. Seniors are important in our churches since they serve to encourage the rest of us about God’s faithfulness.
We do commonly segregate ourselves in small group Bible study, and we do this purposely. Teachers are better able to tailor their remarks to specific age groups, and we have more focused outreach with age-grading. For example, we say to a class of 40-year-old men, “You share your faith with the world, but your special assignment is to share your faith with 40-year-old men.”
Seniors who have served the Lord for many years have stories to share with us about God’s leadership in their lives. This is what we miss when we segregate worship by decades.
The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” A more modern philosopher, the late TV preacher Rex Humbard, said the same thing in another way: “We sometimes understand the will of God better through the rear-view mirror.”
I’ve lived long enough to realize the truth of this in my life. I can recall a number of disappointments along the way, and my questioning of God’s plan. But with the passage of time I’ve seen he had a better plan, and the disappointing experiences helped me grow. As a mentor once told me, God doesn’t waste any experiences in our lives.
I know we sometimes roll our eyes when seniors tell stories again we’ve heard may times, but I hope they keep on telling their stories! We need to be reminded of God’s goodness, and learn to trust him as they have.
Seniors echo the triumphant word of King David, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25, NIV).