“Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”
— I Timothy 5:1,2
The Apostle Paul deals with many different types of relationships in his epistles, but perhaps the most delicate relationship is with those who are older in years. Like the seasons of the year, each of us gradually grow older until we find ourselves in the winter of our lives. The first 70 years are normally filled with vim and vigor as we fulfill the desires of our heart. But if by reason of strength we survive beyond this point the Scriptures indicate that the days ahead are going to be filled with labor and sorrow. Labor, in the sense that even the mundane things of life, such as rising from a chair, becomes burdensome.
To complicate matters further, sorrow surrounds us like a tattered garment as death robs us of those we love. Little wonder that Paul admonishes us to esteem the senior members of the Body of Christ as fathers and mothers. Their plight deserves our sensitivity and their years of experience our respect. Furthermore, it will serve us well to remember that someday soon we will be the patriarch or matriarch.
In Ecclesiastes wise old Solomon, stricken in years himself, describes the aging process that creeps up on us like the leopard that stalks its prey.
“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them” (Eccl. 12:1).
Someday the grim reaper will stand at the foot of our deathbed and the “mourners [will] go about the streets” whispering: Has he passed on? Beloved, there are thousands of ways to leave this earthly tabernacle, but perhaps the most common today is when the “pitcher is broken at the fountain.” In short, a fatal heart attack.
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (vs. 7).
The sting of death is sin, but thanks be unto God that Christ died for our sins thereby removing its sting. Thus, according to Paul’s epistles death is merely a passage way into eternal life for all those who believe (I Cor. 15:55-57; Heb. 2:14,15). No one looks forward to growing old, but hopefully we will do so gracefully and with dignity. As they say: “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.” The blood of Christ is our eternal life insurance policy which has a rider guaranteeing our future resurrection!
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.