“‘Rise up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.’” Leviticus 19:32, N.I.V.
The history of John affords a striking illustration of the way in which God can use aged workers. When John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos, there were many who thought him to be past service, an old and broken reed, ready to fall at any time. But the Lord saw fit to use him still. Though banished from the scenes of his former labour, he did not cease to bear witness to the truth. Even in Patmos, he made friends and converts. His was a message of joy, proclaiming a risen Saviour who on high was interceding for His people until He should return to take them to Himself. And it was after John had grown old in the service of his Lord that he received more communications from heaven than he had received during all the former years of his life.
The most tender regard should be cherished for those whose life interest has been bound up with the work of God. These aged workers have stood faithful amid storm and trial. They may have infirmities, but they still possess talents that qualify them to stand in their place in God’s cause. Though worn, and unable to bear the heavier burdens that younger men can and should carry, the counsel they can give is of the highest value.
They may have made mistakes, but from their failures, they have learned to avoid errors and dangers… They have borne test and trial, and though they have lost some of their vigors, the Lord does not lay them aside. He gives them special grace and wisdom.
Those who have served their Master when the work went hard, who endured poverty and remained faithful when there were few to stand for truth, are to be honoured and respected… Let the younger men realize that in having such workers among them they are highly favoured. Let them give them an honoured place in their councils.
As those who have spent their lives in the service of Christ draw near to the close of their earthly ministry, they will be impressed by the Holy Spirit to recount the experiences they have had in connection with the work of God. The record of His wonderful dealings with His people, of His great goodness in delivering them from trial, should be repeated to those newly come to the faith. God desires the old and tried labourers to stand in their place, doing their part to save men and women from being swept downward by the mighty current of evil. He desires them to keep the armour on till He bids them lay it down.