Though age or experience is not identical to wisdom, older folks are usually a real blessing to the church. It is important for us to honor the older folks and recognize their usefulness to the church as a whole. These are some of the virtues older folks have that I find most significant:
1. Older folks are time-tested.
Though older folks may have many failures, they are still surviving. Older folks may not have lived gracefully, but they have lived for a while and have something to teach us about going with the flow of life.
2. Older folks bring realism.
A lot of young people are naive and believe that they will change the world. Older folks’ realism can be mistaken as pessimism, but it is helpful to realize God doesn’t always give us what we desire or expect.
3. Older folks often demonstrate patience.
As bodies wear out, things take more effort and time. Older folks have had a lot of practice waiting in life, and we can learn a lot from them about how to wait upon God as we struggle.
4. Older folks have history.
Older folks often remind us that we have a history as well. This keeps us from making hasty decisions. Older folks have seen mistakes before and often recognize dangerous patterns.
5. Older folks often demonstrate endurance.
Older folks often have the best perspective on things, because they realize that some things in life—maybe even most things—take a long time.
6. Older folks bring stability.
Older folks tend to be less susceptible to fads, trends, and hype, because they know that some things that generate a lot of excitement end up not lasting very long. They can help us avoid chasing every wind of doctrine and every new church growth strategy. Older folks can help keep us from burnout while keeping our eyes on the prize:
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:14)