The fingers don't work as they once did and the hands are slower now. The mind does not pull up names as easily and sometimes fails one altogether. The walk is not as sure and simple things not as easy. Eyes that loved to read do so now only sporadically as fatigue sets in faster.
The one thing that does not fail is the lifetime of faith stored in an aging heart. Lessons learned the hard way. Character forged in fire. The gratefulness of mistakes and sin redeemed and used for His purposes. A sureness in a fellowship with Jesus that is deeper than ever.
Soon they will join the fellowship of Hebrews 11, men and women who died in faith and who are our examples to follow. No different than Old Testament heroes as they followed well and finished faithful.
I honor those whom God honors. In many ways their day has passed but in God's eyes they stand tall, like Burr Oaks, full of withered, gnarled, character that has stood the test of time, each bend in the frame a story of endurance and faith in the face of adversity.
They are the seniors in our churches. We have much to learn from their example, their faith, their stories and their wisdom. They paved the way for us and we will soon be them. We owe them our respect, our honor, our time, our love and our appreciation. They are repositories of great faith that if tapped could overflow into the lives of those who come behind. Congregations that make room for them are blessed. Those who don't are less because of it.
Our day celebrates youth and beauty and many younger pastors target young people in their worship style, preaching and ministry priorities. Certainly we need to always be reaching the next generation but we cannot do so at the alienation of the prior generations. In fact, we owe then much and they are often the ones who have served faithfully and given generously. Their faith stories are often remarkable and deep. They have paid the price of a long discipleship in the same direction. God honors that and so should we.