Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "We're Marching To Zion"1 (Lyrics)

Job 12:12 – Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old. (NLT)

The older I get, the more that I realize that I have a unique role to play in life. I spent many years in active service to our Lord. I am now at a different point in my faith journey where I have just as much to share, but often with a different emphasis. I have as much enthusiasm as ever — the word enthusiasm comes from Greek, meaning "in God"! I've experienced that same enthusiasm through many of my mentors in years past, mentors who have reached an old age, yet still have a passion for this life and what they can contribute.

I met Bishop Lesslie Newbigin in Salvador, Bahai, Brazil, at a conference on world mission. The program was pretty rigid, but the bishop was anything but. As delegates boarded buses to attend a megachurch in the city, Bishop Newbigin gathered up a group of us and said, "Come with me!" In a rickety old truck, we climbed the mountain that surrounded the city and came to a place called Fazante Grande and a little Presbyterian church in the slums. What a day we had! It was made all the better because of the bishop's presence. At the time, he was a month away from his 87th birthday and was full of enthusiasm for the church and its mission. Age was no deterrent to his zeal!

Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa in 1994 at the age of 77, and he believed that age was only an asset in accomplishing great things in life. I met him in 1998 in Harare, and my first glimpse of him was of him dancing down an aisle greeting people the whole time! On his 89th birthday, July 18th, 2007, Mandela announced the formation of The Elders, a small, dedicated group of leaders who were to work objectively, both publicly and behind the scenes, free from any vested personal interest, to help address global challenges. Among those elders, made up from all walks of life, were Jimmy Carter, Helen Johnson Sirleaf, and Ban Ki-moon.

Today, don't we need those who have grown old and wise, who can encourage and inspire! We are surrounded by a great community of such people, and just maybe, I've reached that stage in life. We would love to share wisdom and experience with the generations following, offering counsel and direction. What might you who are a bit younger learn from befriending those who have lived long and well? Maybe today is the day when we should all find out!

Job 12:13 – But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his. (NLT)

Prayer:

    O my Father, Great Elder,
    I have no words to thank You,
    But with Your deep wisdom
    I am sure that You can see
    How I value Your glorious gifts.
    O my Father, when I look upon Your greatness,
    I am confounded with awe.
    O Great Elder,
    Ruler of all things earthly and heavenly,
    I am Your warrior,
    Ready to act in accordance with Your will.
    Amen.
           – Kikuyu language, Kenya (from An African Prayer Book by Desmond Tutu)

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About the author:

Kenn Stright <kennethstright@yahoo.ca>
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.


    Thanks for the encouraging thoughts, Kenn.


    Thank you for being one of those ‘elder leaders’.


    Thank you, Ken, for sharing and giving us food for thought.


    Great devotional, and a beautiful prayer. Thank you for sharing.


    I am 80+ Ken and you sure help me today. Thanks for sharing this.


    Thank you so much Ken. So positive and encouraging AND interesting.


    What a beautiful devotional.
    Many thanks.


    Thank you Kenn, for these wise words to retired people who have so much to share.


    Hallelujah
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on eldership.
    (BC)


    Ken thank you for sharing your experiences and God’s word.
    Blessings
    (NL)


    Great inspiration, Kenn! We definitely can learn much from our elders, age brings much wisdom. Thanks and God bless you and your work!


    Great devotional, Kenn. Thanks. I always appreciate your enthusiasm and passion. May you never lose it!
    Keep up the good work, please.


    Wow! How exciting and encouraging is this! I would love to sit with you and glean from you, but distance does not allow. God bless you and may we all be dancing and Sharing God’s love right to the end.
    God bless.


    A beautiful devotional Kenn. Thank you. I can’t begin to think what my life might have been like had I not been blessed to have a multi-denominational, multi-faith, multi-cultural, multi-race family and friends from my earliest age; and the older I/we get, the more we learn not just from elders… but from the youths in this world.
    Take care and Keep Healthy.


    Happy New Year!
    I was feeling old and tired this morning. Your contribution to the daily helped lift my spirits. Also, we’re marching to Zion was a good hymn choice to get us moving. Thank you for this devotion and for the ones from 2021.
    Blessings for 2022 and kept up the good work of writing.


    Dear Ken.
    Thank you so much for your encouraging words.
    I came back to the church through the Alpha program led by Nicky Gumble. He, too, speaks very highly of Rev. Newbigin as a mentor and friend.
    I pray our Lord continues to bless you in your wonderful work.
    Thank you.


    Dear Ken,
    Thank you so much for your awesome Devotional, it was so nice of you to share your experiences and to encourage us, even us older people, to never give up helping and serving others as Jesus asks us to do. No matter our age. I too am a senior but need to be reminded to continue to always share Jesus’ message.
    Keep up the good Devotionals.


    Thank you, Kenn, once again, for your words of encouragement. At 97 I still love to serve the Lord and community where possible. Tomorrow I, along with my daughter, will be working in the thrift shop. There are so many who need our help and so few who will serve.
    Yes, my body doesn’t have the strength I used to have, but as the Lord lets me know He’s not through with me yet, I am ready. God is good, God is great!!!


    Greetings Kenn,
    Many thanks for your devotional this morning. Yes, as the years go by, and we look back on how things were then and how they are now, we can be thankful for the time the Lord has given us here and anticipate what He has for us in the time ahead. I appreciated that you attached the prayer by Desmond Tutu. He certainly is a special person to remember for His service to our Lord. Blessings for these interesting and informative writings you do.


    Good morning Kenn.
    Thank you for sharing these awesome, and I’m sure fulfilling, experiences from the many you have had. You have shown me so much encouragement and inspiration over the years. May you, at this stage in your life, continue to do so to all generations, in your friendly, understanding, reassuring way. Bishop Newbegin and Nelson Mandela did show that age is not a deterrent to be able to make the world a better place, while acting according to God’s will. And thank you for sharing Desmond Tutu’s prayer, it shows God’s wisdom and greatness.


    Dear Kenn,
    Well I definitely need the encouragement that this devotional offers. I do feel I have a role to play in God’s world, but sometimes I lack the energy I would love to have. I can’t imagine dancing down the aisle. I can imagine in small ways reaching out and encouraging others. I do feel God’s hand in my life more as I grow older and not out of my home helping to put food on the table and a house over our head.
    It is good to hear the enthusiasm that others have and to then reflect on what can I do. Praying to God for his counsel and guidance is important to increase my awareness of what I can do and my effectiveness in reaching others. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experiences. May you not feel weary but continue on.


    Dear Kenn,
    Again your devotional struck a welcome chord!
    As I am moving into my 80’s, though my energy seems to wane at inconvenient times, I still feel that enthusiasm you mentioned!
    It is a cause to be thankful.
    It is also a challenge to know how much to move out into “COVID country”.
    An essential, ongoing adaptation!
    May we learn to live wisely and well…rejoicing in what we are able to do.
    May we also find those who are kindly disposed to listen!
    Best New Years wishes!


    Hi Kenn,
    What a beautiful devotion. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and your personal encounters with wise elders. The prayer is a beautiful resource.
    Peace.


    I am glad you were able to experience Brazil and its people. My husband and I were missionaries there for many years. We served God’s people building medical, educational facilities and a church. Now retired and COVID housebound, I have time to remember and be grateful.

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