You Must Show Consideration for Older Persons
1 “I really enjoy my association with older ones in our congregation. Their strong faith and depth of love for Jehovah are so upbuilding and encouraging to me.” Expressions like these are heard in congregations where our faithful older brothers and sisters are serving. How happy we are to show consideration for these dear ones!—Lev. 19:32.
2 Although suffering from various health problems, many older brothers serve as elders and ministerial servants. What a fine example they are to us! When the limitations of age prevent them from doing as much as they would like to do now, there is no need for them to step aside, feeling they are no longer serving the congregation. On the contrary, older ones are of great benefit to the entire congregation. We are blessed by their steadfast and faithful example over the years as well as their counsel and mature judgment. We can all heartily agree that “gray-headedness is a crown of beauty when it is found in the way of righteousness.”—Prov. 16:31.
3 Older women also have a fine influence upon the congregation. At Titus 2:2-10 Paul spoke not only of older men, but also of older women and what they could do to “adorn” the truth. The fine examples of older men and women who share regularly in field service each month in spite of the infirmities of age are an inspiration to many who, even without handicaps, do not equal their zeal and devotion. Some of our older ones are limited as to how many hours at a time may be spent in house-to-house work or in street witnessing. Yet, when we see their determination, are we not encouraged to imitate their strong faith and the spirit they show? (Phil. 4:23) And, what about their fine example in being on time for the meetings each week even though in some cases this may be difficult. Too, which one of us does not listen carefully to their thoughtful comments reflecting the wisdom and modesty they have accumulated during many years of faithful service.
4 But how can we personally follow the counsel at Leviticus 19:32 to “show consideration for the person of an old man”? Earlier in this verse we read: “Before gray hair you should rise up,” indicating that younger persons should demonstrate a respectful attitude toward older ones. Paul counseled that we should consider others superior to us. (Phil. 2:3) If that is true among all in the Christian congregation, how much more so when the one involved has actually demonstrated love for Jehovah and his Christian brothers by works of faith and deeds of godly devotion over many years. Truly they have earned our respect.
5 Occasionally a report is received that an older brother or sister who is confined to bed may feel neglected due to lack of regular encouraging visits. While we may not have known them personally or been closely associated with them in the past, yet this does not alter our spiritual relationship with them. It is really a basic Christian responsibility to care for such ones, particularly when they are members of our families. (1 Tim. 5:8) Lovingly caring for older members of the congregation and particularly our family members is a basic Christian principle that cannot be disregarded by those who love Jehovah. (Mark 7:10; 1 John 3:17, 18; 4:7, 8) All of us should demonstrate our loving concern for their physical and spiritual welfare.
6 When working our territory, there are a number of ways that we can show consideration for older brothers and sisters. For example, it may be possible to arrange groups so as to minimize the necessity of elderly ones climbing many stairs or hills when going from door to door. Whenever possible, assistance may also be provided to aid older brothers and sisters to make return visits or to get to and from Bible studies where public transportation is inconvenient or considerable distance is involved. Can arrangements also be made to transport them to and from the Kingdom Hall for the meetings or even to assist them to shop for the necessities of life? We can be certain that our love as expressed through our care and concern will be deeply appreciated by our older brothers.
7 If we are thoughtful, we will find that there are many ways to show love to one another. Such unselfish giving brings joy and happiness to the entire congregation. John encouraged: “Let us love, neither in word nor with the tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John 3:18) Yes, young and old alike benefit from an interchange of encouragement as each one gives of himself in accord with his abilities and circumstances.—Acts 20:35; Rom. 1:12.
8 The apostle Paul recognized “that God makes all his works cooperate together for the good of . . . the ones called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) How happy we are to benefit so richly from the treasure house of knowledge and experience many of our older brothers and sisters have accumulated over the years!