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The Joy of the Journey: Those Who Have Come Before Us

The Joy of the Journey

Those Who Have Come Before Us

As I write this article, I sit with my 95-year-old father, while my 88-year-old mother is being cared for in the hospital by other family members. The reality of older parents, and watching them succumb to the wear and tear of life is very difficult to behold.  Witnessing the pain of the reality that the hourglass of time has very few grains of sand left them has to slowly seep through our minds and theirs. To embrace the changes that is inevitable as age comes upon our parents is very hard to accept. So I hope this article is encouraging to those who may be like me and my siblings watching time do what it does best pass by.

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In the Christian faith, the act of caring for the elderly is not only seen as a virtuous and compassionate deed, but it is also believed to be a way of receiving blessings from God. The Bible is filled with verses that emphasize the importance of honoring and caring for the elderly, as well as the promise of blessings for those who do so.

One of the most well-known verses in the Bible that speaks to the importance of caring for the elderly is found in Leviticus 19:32 and states, “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” This verse underscores the significance of showing respect and honor to those who are older, as it is considered a way of honoring God Himself.  It might also be added that the in the Ten Commandments given on Mount Sinai it reads to, Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.Exodus 20:12.  Many people would like to apply these verses to small children, but as long as you have a living parent, this is a commandment with a promise that you do want to keep.

In the New Testament, the apostle Paul also addresses the importance of caring for the elderly in his letter to Timothy. In 1 Timothy 5:8, he writes, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” This passage highlights the responsibility and duty that Christians have towards their elderly family members, urging believers to provide for their needs and show them love and care.

The teachings of Jesus Christ also emphasize the importance of caring for the elderly. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus speaks about the judgment of the nations and how those who cared for the least of His brothers and sisters, including the elderly, will inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:31-46). This passage illustrates the idea that caring for the elderly is a reflection of one’s love for God and will be rewarded with blessings and eternal life.

In addition to the explicit teachings about caring for the elderly, there are also numerous examples in the Bible of individuals who demonstrated compassion and care towards the elderly. For instance, the story of Ruth and Naomi in the Old Testament is a powerful example of the bond between a daughter-in-law and her elderly mother-in-law. Despite facing hardship and loss, Ruth remained devoted to Naomi and cared for her with unwavering loyalty and love. This act of kindness and compassion was ultimately blessed by God, as Ruth went on to become an ancestor of King David and, ultimately, Jesus Christ.

Caring for the elderly in the Christian faith is not just about meeting physical needs; it is also about providing emotional support, companionship, and spiritual guidance. The elderly are to be valued and respected and loved. From them, we find wisdom and guidance that only life experience brings.

In closing, one of the fundamental principles in Christianity is the commandment to love one another as oneself. This includes showing love and care for the elderly, who have often faced a lifetime of challenges and experiences. The Bible teaches that caring for the elderly is a way to demonstrate Christ-like love and compassion.  So to all of you that are caring for elderly family may the Lord bless you richly and keep you.  My  prayer for you is that the days of your life be lengthen for honoring those who have come before us.

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Pastor Phil Minter began his ministry in 1989 as a freshman in college. He received his degree in theology and ministry in 1992. During his time in college and after graduation he traveled conducting revivals, youth camps, and conferences in many states and countries. He lived in Athens, Greece for a short time where he aided in the mission efforts throughout Europe. He returned to the United States where he continued to minister in the USA and Canada. In 1994 he would move back to Georgia and travel the state speaking at various events. Phil married Tina Flowers in 1996 where they began their pastoral ministry in Jesup, Georgia. In 1999 they moved to Trion, Georgia, where they presently pastor Harvest Worship Center. Pastor Phil has a lifetime commitment to Chattooga County and the surrounding areas. Pastor Phil still travels (although limited due to his pastoral commitments) to preach and teach; Revivals, Camps, and, Conferences. His heart is driven by the great commission of Matthew 28. Reaching souls for Christ is and will remain his primary focus!

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