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Ministering God's Promises to the Elderly
According to the Administration on Aging, people 65 and over represented 12.4% of the population in the year 2000, but are expected to grow to 19% of the population by 2030.
A larger percentage of the aged category means a larger percentage needing assistance, and many of them are church members.
God promised Naomi, the old woman who lost her husband and sons in Moab that she would never be without a close relative (Ruth 4:14). He chose Ruth, the widow of Naomi's deceased son, to be the heart and hands through whom He would fulfill that promise.
Ruth committed to Naomi's care and happiness, and God committed to enabling Ruth. More young people with the spirit of Ruth are needed.
Portrait of Naomi and Ruth
Why Minister to the Elderly?
- The church family is all the family some elderly people have; church members become God's hands to them.
- The New Testament advice is that:"The church should care for any widow who has no one else to care for her" (1 Timothy 5:3 NLT).
- Ministry to the elderly is as important as ministry on the mission field. Matthew 25:45 states that whenever we minister to strangers, the sick and shut-in (among others) our ministry is credited as ministry to God.
- Some of our elderly church members have become strangers for lack of regular visits.
Ministering the Bible Promises
Anyone can minister to elderly church members or relatives by sharing God's promises, ten of which are listed below. Here are a few suggestions on how to use them:
- Choose one promise every time you visit. Read it and share the context. Sing a song or two which has the same theme as the promise.
- Read a promise and share stories (from personal experiences) which illustrate it.
- Jog the memory of the elderly by asking them to recite their favorite promises.
- Make framed posters with promises to stand on a table where they can see them, or to put on their walls.
- To those who still have the blessing of sight, create cards (large print) and send one to provide peace and comfort in between visits.
- Do voice recordings of promises and have the caregiver play them during their devotional time.
Ten Bible Promises for the Elderly
(1) Daily Renewal
- Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).
(2) Renewable Youth
- Praise the LORD, my soul . . . who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:1, 5).
(3) Productivity In Old Age
- The righteous will flourish like a palm tree. . . They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock . . .” (Psalm 92: 12-15).
- Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:4).
- So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
Helpful Resource for Ministry to the Elderly
- I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread (Psalm 37:25).
- For I am convinced that neither death nor life . . . neither the present nor the future . . . neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38, 39).
(8) God's Presence
- If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast (Psalm 139:8-10).
(9) God's Love While You Wait
- But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life (Jude 20, 21).
- The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore (Psalm 121:7,8).
All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.
Helpful Links on Ministry to the Elderly
- Launching A New Ministry!
How to start a 50 plus ministry in your church.
- Twelve Ways to Minister to the Elderly | Doorposts of Your House
Caring for widows and the elderly is pleasing to God (Leviticus 19:32, 1 Timothy 5:3, James 1:27).
- Ministry to the Elderly: Homebound - Resources - Eternal Perspective Ministries
Many who are confined to their house are desperate for some human interaction and assistance. Your church can help.
- A Smile for the Elderly | Today's Christian Woman
How Linda Cook is making a difference."My oldest would ask, 'Are we going to the place where all the grandmas and grandpas live?'" Linda recalls.
© 2011 Dora Weithers