mother nature,Weekly Sabbath Survey
Getting Old — 9-3-2016
A lot of people, especially OLD ones, don’t want to talk about it. I never quite understood this; as if ignoring the obvious would somehow make it go away! Clearly, it is here to stay. We have all been aging since the DAY we were born. I think part of the problem with some of us ‘silverbacks’ facing the “O” word is how our culture views it. I have discovered something on this subject in Jewish thought. It is subtle and doesn’t pose a big doctrinal problem. But even this small detail can make a difference in how we live before the Jewish God we claim to follow. Here’s a quote from a Rabbi:
The Torah [Jewish Bible] considers old age to be a virtue and a blessing. Throughout its pages “old” or (zakein) is synonymous with “wise.” The Torah commands respect for all the elderly, regardless of their scholarship and piety because the many trials and experiences that each additional year of life brings yield a wisdom which the most accomplished young prodigy cannot equal. The Scriptures describe Abraham as one who “grew old and came along in days” His accumulated days, each replete with learning and achievement, meant that with each passing day his worth increased. Thus, a ripe old age is regarded as one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon man. -copied
Contrast that truth with the ancient ‘youth’ culture of the Greco-Romans, and the attitude toward the elderly in our society today, even among Christians. When we adopted Gentile ways, we all but lost regard for elders. It is very Asian (Hebrews were Asians) to treasure old people, very Caucasian to pass them by in favor of the younger, stronger, and more beautiful. Think of “The Games” in the time of the Roman/Greek Empire: the inspiration for our own Olympic Games. (Named for Mount Olympus in Greece, where the gods lived.) Sports heroes and warriors were practically worshipped back then. Old people were physically weak and therefore, not of much use, except as poets, philosophers, politicians.
We can fast-forward to the freaky looking men and women in the entertainment industry today who run to quack doctors to supposedly help them beat the clock. Between “Father Time” and “Mother Nature” it is a losing battle no matter what they do! Plastic surgery has been around since the 1950’s, maybe before. It was done, but very subtle and a well-kept secret. People took vacations and came back looking “so rested.” Now, it is so extreme in many cases the ‘victims’ are almost unrecognizable!
Aging, like death, is the natural order of life. Maturing people need to feel good about weathering the years and accomplishing the things they have, and even more what they are still doing. They shouldn’t let their aches and pains and frequent trips to doctors keep them from cherishing their lives. One of God’s names is Ancient of Days. Evidently He doesn’t mind being old! Young people need cultivate a deeper respect for their elders. Yes, they drive slow, walk slow, can’t hear or remember good. But they still deserve loving admiration, and not be laughed at or worse, considered one of life’s annoyances. It isn’t written in stone that every new generation has to learn from their mistakes just because they all seem to want to! The old folks may have something very useful to contribute if somebody just asked them, and was patient enough to let them tell it. Surely this would please the Lord. In every setting, even church, it’s all focused on the young people. Putting hearing aides in the pews and/or passing out ear plugs so the old guys can get through the travesty of the music, doesn’t address the problem of disrespect for them.
We started here contrasting Jewish thought on aging with the youthful bent among Gentiles. There is a parallel to be noted here. There is still so much we Believers could learn from old Jewish understanding and teachings, beginning with understanding and appreciating the worth of this ancient OLD people whose beginning with Yahweh has its origins in that Bible verse that says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Stand up in the presence of the aged, giving honor and respect for the elderly, and fear your God. I am YHVH. Leviticus 19:32
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Copyright May 2016
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