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 STUDY ARTICLE 35

Value Our Older Brothers and Sisters

Value Our Older Brothers and Sisters

“Gray hair is a crown of beauty.”​—PROV. 16:31.

SONG 138 Beauty in Gray-Headedness

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1-2. (a) According to Proverbs 16:​31, how we must look at our older brothers and sisters who faithful? (b) What question them we coming answer in this article?

VISITORS to a state park in Arkansas, U.S.A., might find diamonds in plain view on the ground. However, those diamonds are in their natural, uncut state. As a result, many who see the diamonds might not realize what they are looking at and just walk right past these treasures.

2 In some ways, our faithful older ones are like those diamonds; they are precious treasures. God’s Word likens the gray hair of such ones to a crown. (Read Proverbs 16:31; 20:29) These treasures, though, can easily be overlooked. Younger ones who recognize the value of older ones can gain something more beneficial than literal riches. In this article, we will answer three questions: Why does Jehovah view faithful older ones as treasures? What place does Jehovah have in his arrangement for such ones? What can we do to benefit fully from their example?

WHY JEHOVAH VALUE OLDER BROTHERS AND SISTERS WHO FAITHFUL

Faithful older ones are precious to Jehovah God and to his people (See paragraph 3)

3. In line with Psalm 92:12-15, why Jehovah value older brothers and sisters who faithful?

3 Faithful older ones are precious to Jehovah God. He sees them for who they really are on the inside, and he knows and values their wonderful qualities. He appreciates it when older ones pass on to younger ones the wisdom they have gained during a lifetime of faithful service. (Job 12:12; Prov. 1:1-4) Jehovah  also treasures their endurance. (Mal. 3:16) Their lives have not been trouble free; yet, their faith in Jehovah has never wavered. Their hope for the future is brighter than it was when they first learned the truth. And Jehovah loves them because they continue to declare his name “even in old age.”​—Read Psalm 92:12-15.

4. Wetin can encourage our older brother and sister them?

4 If you are getting well along in years, be assured that Jehovah remembers the work you have done in the past. (Heb. 6:10) You have zealously supported the preaching work, and that pleases our heavenly Father. You have endured trials​—even heartbreaking ones—​upheld the Bible’s righteous standards, carried heavy loads of responsibility, and trained others. You have done your best to keep pace with Jehovah’s fast-moving organization. You have supported and encouraged others as they pursued the full-time ministry. Jehovah God loves you very much for being loyal. He promises that “he will not abandon his loyal ones”! (Ps. 37:28) He gives you this assurance: “Until your hair is gray I will keep bearing you.” (Isa. 46:4) So do not conclude that in view of your advancing years, you no longer have an important role in Jehovah’s organization. You most certainly do!

OLD PEOPLE IMPORTANT TO JEHOVAH ORGANIZATION

5. Wetin our brothers and sisters who old must remember?

5 Older ones have much to offer. Although they may not have the strength they once had, they do have a wealth of experience that they have acquired over the years. Jehovah can continue to use them in various ways, as the following examples from the past and the present show.

6-7. Give examples from the Bible about how Jehovah bless old people who serve him faithfully.

6 We can find good examples in the Bible of faithful ones who actively served Jehovah into their old age. Moses, for  instance, was about 80 years old when he began serving as Jehovah’s prophet and representative to the nation of Israel. Jehovah was still using Daniel as His spokesman when the prophet was probably in his 90’s. And the apostle John was likely also in his 90’s when he was inspired to write the book of Revelation.

7 Many other faithful ones were not prominent or well-known, and they could easily have been overlooked. Still, Jehovah noticed them and rewarded their loyalty. For example, the “righteous and devout” man Simeon is mentioned just briefly in the Bible, but Jehovah knew who he was and granted him the privilege of seeing the infant Jesus and of prophesying about the child and his mother. (Luke 2:22, 25-35) Think, too, of the widowed prophetess Anna. She was 84 years old but was “never missing from the temple.” Her faithful “meeting attendance” was richly rewarded when on one occasion she too saw the infant Jesus. Both Simeon and Anna were precious to Jehovah.​—Luke 2:36-38.

Sister Didur, now in her 80’s, continues in her faithful service (See paragraph 8)

8-9. Wetin sisters who husband them na die continue to do in Jehovah organization?

8 In modern times, many faithful older ones serve as excellent examples for younger ones. Consider the experience of Sister Lois Didur. She was just 21 years old when she started to serve as a special pioneer in Canada. After that, she and her husband, John, spent a number of years in the traveling work. They later served at Canada Bethel for over 20 years. When Lois was 58, she and John were invited to accept an assignment in Ukraine. What would they do? Would they conclude that they were too old to serve in another country? They accepted the assignment, and John was appointed to serve on the Branch Committee there. After John’s death seven years later, Lois decided to stay in her assignment. Now, at the age of 81, Lois continues to serve as a productive and much loved member of the Ukraine Bethel family.

9 Widows like Lois may not be noticed as much as they were when their husband was alive; nevertheless, widowhood does not diminish their value. Jehovah highly values sisters who supported their husband for years and now continue to show the same steadfastness. (1 Tim. 5:3) In addition, they provide real encouragement to younger ones.

10. What fine example Tony set?

10 The many faithful older ones who live in adult care facilities are also spiritual  treasures. For example, a brother named Tony now lives in such a facility. He got baptized in Pennsylvania, U.S.A., in August 1942 at the age of 20. He soon faced the neutrality issue and as a result spent two and a half years in prison. He and his wife, Hilda, raised two children in the truth. Over the years, Tony served in three congregations as the presiding overseer (now known as the coordinator of the body of elders) and as a circuit assembly overseer. He conducted meetings and Bible studies at a state prison. At 98, Tony is not ready to take it easy. He keeps doing his very best to serve Jehovah and to work closely with the local congregation!

11. How we can show that we value older brothers and sisters who living in area where they can take care of old people?

11 How can we show honor to older ones who live in adult care facilities? Elders can include them in congregation activities to the extent possible. We can show personal attention by visiting them or inviting them to a video chat. We want to give special attention to older ones who may be living in a facility far from their home congregation. If we are not attentive, we could overlook these older ones. Some of them may not find it easy or think it appropriate to talk about themselves. But we will benefit greatly when we take the time to draw them out and listen as they tell about the joys they have experienced in Jehovah’s organization.

12. When we check in our congregation, wetin we can find out about our older brother and sister them?

12 We may be surprised to find that there are outstanding examples of faithful older ones in our own congregation. A sister named Harriette served Jehovah faithfully for decades in her home congregation in New Jersey, U.S.A. Then she moved away to live with her daughter. Brothers in her new congregation took the time to get to know her, and they discovered a treasure. She encouraged them with accounts of field service when she first learned the truth in the 1920’s. Back then, she always carried a toothbrush with her when she went preaching​—in case she got arrested. In fact, twice in 1933 she spent a week in jail. During such times, her non-Witness, supportive husband cared for their three young children. Certainly, faithful older ones like Harriette deserve to be treasured!

13. Wetin we learn about the value the old people get in Jehovah organization?

13 Our older brothers and sisters have an important role in Jehovah’s arrangement. They have seen how Jehovah has in many different ways blessed his organization and them personally. They have learned important lessons from mistakes they have made. View them as a “fountain of wisdom,” and draw on their experience. (Prov. 18:4) If you take the time to get to know them, your faith can be strengthened and you will learn a thing or two!

LEARN GOOD-GOOD FROM OLD PEOPLE EXAMPLE

Just as Elisha benefited from being with Elijah, brothers and sisters can benefit from experiences recounted by ones who have long served Jehovah (See paragraphs 14-15)

14. Wetin Deuteronomy 32:7 encourage young people to do?

14 Take the initiative to talk with older ones. (Read Deuteronomy 32:7.) True, their eyesight may have dimmed, their pace may have slowed, and their speech  may have softened, but they are young at heart, and they have made “a good name” with Jehovah. (Eccl. 7:1) Remember why Jehovah treasures them. Continue to show them honor. Be like Elisha. He insisted on staying close to Elijah on their last day together. Three times Elisha declared: “I will not leave you.”​—2 Ki. 2:2, 4, 6.

15. What some question them we can ask older people?

15 Show genuine interest in older ones by kindly drawing them out. (Prov. 1:5; 20:5; 1 Tim. 5:1, 2) Ask such questions as these: “When you were younger, what convinced you that you had found the truth?” “How have your experiences drawn you closer to Jehovah?” “What have you found to be the secret to remaining happy in Jehovah’s service?” (1 Tim. 6:6-8) Then listen as they tell their story.

16. When old person and young person lecture, how two of them can benefit?

16 When an older one and a younger one talk with each other, both benefit. (Rom. 1:12) You younger ones will enrich your appreciation for the way Jehovah cares for his faithful servants, and the older one will feel dignified. He will enjoy recounting to you how he has received Jehovah’s blessings.

17. Why we say that the more faithful ones get older, that the more Jehovah can value them?

17 Physical beauty usually fades with age, but those who are loyal to Jehovah become more beautiful to him with each passing year. (1 Thess. 1:2, 3) Why is that true? Because over the years, they have allowed God’s spirit to mold them and refine them. The more we get to know our precious older brothers and sisters, honor them, and learn from them, the more we will view them as priceless treasures!

18. Wetin we will discuss in the next article?

18 The congregation grows stronger not only when younger ones treasure older ones but also when older ones value younger ones. In our next article, we will discuss how older ones can show that they treasure younger ones in the congregation.

SONG 144 Keep Your Eyes on the Prize!

^ par. 5 Faithful older ones are like precious treasures. This article will encourage us to heighten our appreciation for them and will discuss how we can benefit fully from their wisdom and experience. It will also assure older ones that they occupy an important place in God’s organization.