Those in their latter years
What is your attitude now that you are beginning to feel the aches and pains which come with age? What is your attitude to the current church leadership, maybe those who carry the responsibility you once carried? Be grace-filled not grumpy!
Battles for each generation
I am saddened when I encounter those who are finding the adjustment to later life has allowed a bitterness of spirit to enter their souls. We have all had battles to fight in our generation and, I trust, have fought those battles well. Maybe they were related to doctrine in the church – baptism of the Holy Spirit perhaps – or practice, such as having guitars in the meetings! That these were big issues now seems laughable, but once they were very real. Each generation has its own battles.
The current generation faces very different ones from those facing my generation, but they are just as real, maybe more acute and sensitive, such as gender issues, or the pressures associated with social media. Indeed, discussion about any such issue is aggravated by the availability of instant access to communication allowing views to be expressed without being thought through in detail. Also the anonymity modern communication media allows can release vitriol that would never be expressed in a face-to-face encounter. My generation may make use of these media but never had to deal with the consequences they allow. I urge you to respect the challenges both our present leaders and the younger generation now face.
Be a supporter
When I was still in Brighton and an active member of Church of Christ the King, though no longer in leadership, I found it a joy and a privilege occasionally to endorse the younger leadership who had taken over from us older leaders. More than once I invited myself onto the platform at the end of a preach by one of the younger preachers to affirm and endorse what they had said. I was trying to communicate to others in my generation that we should not stand back judgmentally but actively affirm the leadership whom God had now anointed over us. I even used my ‘farewell’ to speak to older members of the church, encouraging them not to become disillusioned but to be supportive.
Be a servant
Servanthood is one of our highest callings, an example set by Jesus himself. So, what can we do when we are perhaps more limited for physical reasons? There are many possibilities. You have a wealth of spiritual and life experience and maturity that it is your responsibility to pass on. Don’t wait to be asked; just get on and do it!
Be a learner
Have you ever thought that God may open up a new area of ministry and fruitfulness in this season of your life? I find that an exciting thought; don’t believe the whisper of the enemy that your time is past! Consider what new areas of life you can explore. Maybe there is something completely fresh that God would have you to learn and share. He made you in his image to be creative. Don’t let the enemy persuade you that that was for only the first decades of your life. You are still in God’s image!
Next time we will look at a few possibilities for ways in which you can define your heart’s desire, gifting and capacity for the new season of life.