“And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age.”
Age finally caught up to Joshua, and the only thing left for him to do was to prepare Israel for his departure. His body had grown weak because of age, but his mind was still sharp as when he was young. No doubt, the biggest struggle Joshua faced was that he could no longer do what his mind could dream. The only thing he could do at this point was to warn Israel of departing from the LORD and to advise them how to continue to serve the LORD.
I have watched many of my friends and family grow old. Though I am not what many would call old, those who I have garnered counsel from have waxed old and are stricken in age. To be honest with you, it is hard to watch those who are stricken in age who have done great things for the LORD to sit and wish their body would allow them to do more. Though their body is weak and they don’t have the strength to do what they once used to do, I still believe that they are useful as long as the LORD allows them to live. Let me give some advice to on how to treat the aged.
First, understand that the aged still desire to be relevant. One of the hardest things for those whom the LORD greatly used is not to be able to do what they once did. Their minds are as sharp as they were when they were young, but age has taken the strength from their body. You must be careful not to push the aged aside for youthfulness. The aged still have a great mind from which you can benefit. One of the greatest desires of the aged is to be wanted.
Second, don’t let the weakness of their flesh cause you to miss the wisdom of age. The aged still have wisdom to help the youth. Unfortunately, many youth forsake the aged because they don’t have the youthful energy they desire. What the youth don’t have is the wisdom of age. I am not saying that the aged are sinless, but what I am saying is that the aged have wisdom you could use if you took the time to glean from them. If you stop criticizing the aged, you will glean the wisdom God wants you to learn from them.
Third, schedule time regularly to glean wisdom to help you conquer as they did. One thing I have learned about the aged is that they won’t push themselves on you, even though they desire to help. You are going to have to purposely spend time with them to glean the wisdom they have learned over the years. You will never regret gleaning wisdom from the aged if you will purposely take the time to listen to their stories. What you don’t understand about their stories is that they are packed with wisdom you can use. They may repeat their stories a bit, but if you listen, you will learn invaluable wisdom that can help you to do the LORD’s work.
Fourth, be merciful because of their lack of strength. Let me remind you that they don’t have the strength they once had. The aged don’t have the energy they once had to do what they once did. Because of this, you must not expect them to go as long as you can. You must understand that they are often expending all of their energy to do what they can do. Don’t be critical because of their inability to do what you are doing. Understand that their body is not as strong as yours, and they often don’t want to admit that they can’t do what they once used to do. Be merciful to the aged and encourage them because one day it will be you who is stricken in age.