Why Honor the Elderly?

ALONG the coast of California, U.S.A., is one of the world’s most photographed trees. It is known as the Lone Cypress. Reportedly, this tree is over 250 years old. Noted for its endurance, this beautiful tree has received attention in several ways. For instance, it has been fortified with supportive cables and with stonework around its base.

The Lone Cypress may remind us of the older Christians in our midst, who show remarkable endurance. One outstanding way that they do this is by proclaiming the good news. The prophet Joel foretold that “old men” would declare the Bible’s message. (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-21) Just think of the countless hours such ones spend earnestly helping others to learn about the “good news of the kingdom”! (Matt. 24:14) Some of these elderly Kingdom proclaimers have endured years of persecution or other difficulties. If a mere cypress tree is noted for endurance and is fortified with stonework and cables, how much more do the older ones among us deserve to be recognized and treated with dignity and honor!

Jehovah God commanded his ancient people: “Before gray hair you should rise up, and you must show consideration for the person of an old man.” (Lev. 19:32) Among Jehovah’s servants today, we find excellent examples of faithful ones who have been ‘walking with God’ for decades. (Mic. 6:8) As they continue  applying Scriptural principles, their gray-headedness is indeed “a crown of beauty.”​—Prov. 16:31.

The apostle Paul instructed young Timothy: “Do not severely criticize an older man.” Rather, Timothy was to “entreat him as a father” and “older women as mothers.” (1 Tim. 5:1, 2) In effect, Timothy was to “rise up” before gray hair. Clearly, then, Jehovah expects our manner of speech to reflect such honor.

“In showing honor to one another take the lead,” states Romans 12:10. Overseers in the congregation certainly show honor to elderly Christians. But all of us are to take the lead in showing honor to one another.

Of course, family members have a special responsibility toward their parents and grandparents. In the case of the Lone Cypress, people have looked for ways to help preserve it, and they continue to do so. Surely, then, we should look for ways to help preserve the dignity of our aging parents and grandparents. For example, being a good listener will keep us from insisting on doing things our own way without regard for their feelings.​—Prov. 23:22; 1 Tim. 5:4.

The elderly ones among us are very precious to Jehovah. He does not abandon them. (Ps. 71:18) The true God actually fortifies them to keep on serving him faithfully. May we too continue to support and honor the elderly.

[Pictures on page 7]

As the Lone Cypress needs support, older ones need to be treated with dignity and honor

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American Spirit Images/​age fotostock