By Becky Holland
Proverbs 20:29 – The glory of young men is their strength, grey hair the splendor of the old. (NIV)
My mom’s father, the Reverend James C. Madison, was in his early 80s when he died. For many years, Grandpa had served faithfully as a minister in North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana, USA, and was one of the most respected men I knew. I remember visiting friends and church members with Grandpa, and watching with admiration, respect, and pride as he seemed to know just what to say, and when to listen. He believed in church. No matter what the weather, he was there on Sundays and Wednesdays, and times in between. Grandpa believed in the ministries of the church.
Quick-witted, quick-thinking, he never lacked for an answer. He could rise to any occasion, and when he spoke, he said something significant. Age was only a number, but it also signified a great wisdom. He was just that way, even in his death, celebrating and praising God.
My dad was the one who found him, that Sunday morning, kneeling in front of a chair. There were no signs of pain in Grandpa’s face, or of resistance to death. The undertakers admitted that it was not normal for a person to die and remain in such a natural position for eight to ten hours. What position was this? Prayer. Grandpa was a firm believer in the power of prayer. It was his routine before bedtime to study the Scriptures and pray.
Grandpa was the greatest churchman I ever knew.
Job 12:12 – Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding. (NKJV)
Leviticus 19:32 – Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God, I am the Lord. (NIV)
As Christians we should strive to respect the elderly, not just because they have wisdom, but also because it is a commandment of God!
Prayer: Father, respect and love go hand in hand. Show us, as your children, how to show both respect and love to our elders, and also how to teach respect and love to those watching us! Amen.