The title of this article may have caught your attention if only because you question the validity of the statement. How could such a position be defended? Weren’t all of the twelve disciples that Jesus called to follow Him relatively young people?
The apostle John may have been the youngest, at approximately eighteen years of age, when Jesus called him to forsake his occupation and follow Him. Joseph was a young man when God used him in Egypt, and certainly the child Samuel was not even a teenager when God began speaking to him. So can the statement be defended both in Scripture and in practice? I believe that it can be, and I will stay with the Bible to support my claim.
God’s Communication with Senior Adults
The first major biblical event after creation was the flood. In Genesis, we read that Noah was 600 years old when God directed him to build the ark. While Noah lived to be 960 years old, he had lived almost two-thirds of his life when God called him. Noah would have qualified as a senior adult. Next, we look at Abraham who was 99 years old when God told him that he would have a son. He was 100 years old when it happened.
The story of Moses also illustrates the point of God speaking to senior adults. Moses was eighty when God called him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. Joshua and Caleb were in their 80’s and still anxious to be used by God. In all of these examples, God spoke to people who had lived most of their life. Yet He had a purpose for each of them.
Some might question my use of only Old Testament examples. Let’s go to the New Testament. In Luke at Jesus’ birth, we find that an old man named Simeon was one of the first people to recognize who Jesus really was. God had given Simeon a promise that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. When Joseph and Mary brought Jesus into the temple, God spoke to Simeon that this was the Messiah he had longed to see.
Also on this occasion, Anna, another senior adult, recognized Jesus. She was 84 years old, a dedicated woman who lived in the temple to give herself continually to prayer. She also heard God’s voice telling her that the one she had been praying for had come. How interesting that from the nearly 30,000 priests living at the time of Jesus’ birth, the first two people who recognized Jesus were two senior adults.
God’s Wisdom Poured Out Through Seniors
One of the greatest blessings for the church and believers came on the Day of Pentecost when God poured out His Spirit for all believers to receive. Peter spoke that day and quoted from the prophet Joel that God would pour out His Spirit and your old men shall dream dreams (Joel 2:28). Many have misinterpreted this verse to teach that older people dream about the past, the good old days. However, a biblical dream usually did not concern the past, but rather what God would do in the future! God would share His future plans with the old, as well as the young.
Why does God speak more to senior adults? Perhaps they have the time to listen, or they have the spiritual aptitude or wisdom to be able to distinguish the voice of God. Perhaps senior adults are more open to God’s voice than at any other time in their life.
Whatever the reason, the church would be wise to make room for what senior adults have to say. It is possible that the older person we neglect or bypass in our hurry to get the church business done may have a message from God that we all need to hear!