The front page of USA Today read, “Small Firms Race Health Deadline – Rush to renew plans before premiums rise.” Moments ago my cell phone rang and a message began to play saying, “Are you one of the millions of Americans that might be at risk of losing their health care coverage?” There are a lot of people these days who are confused, angry and frightened by the changes in their health care plans, and in the trends of the culture. Tonight Billy Graham will address the nation on his 95th birthday. He wants to preach what might be his last message on the subject of the spiritual health of our nation. Everyone in our country needs insurance, and everyone needs “assurance,” that they will be secure in the days ahead. You can watch the programs, on television or online. Email, text, or use social media to engage others in these very special programs.
This subject of insurance became personal when my recently widowed mom received a letter saying that her retiree health insurance was going to be handled differently in the future. That was hard to hear when almost everything about her future changed four months ago. She and I spent several hours working through paperwork, cruising websites, and making phone calls. After a lot of confusion, and a lot of hard work she chose a great plan and we assume she will be just fine.
But I couldn’t help but wonder, what happens to the people who don’t know the right questions to ask? The people who don’t have the ability to surf the different articles on the Internet, or who don’t have helpful friends who are willing to be a resource. We found our way out of the maze of possibilities because we asked the right questions. The same is true of those who have spiritual questions. People don’t walk into churches very often “uninvited.” Most people have a strong curiosity about faith issues, but what happens if they don’t ask the right questions? Who will lead them out of the maze of possibilities to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
This world is getting more difficult, especially for those who should have been most able to enjoy their retirement years. They want to talk and the rest of the world wants to e-mail or text. They want to drive slower and the rest of the world is in a hurry. They know what has value and they don’t understand what the world has come to value. One of the “least evangelized” groups in our nation are the elderly. Yet, they are the group most in need of settling their salvation. I hope the older population will listen to Billy Graham tonight and know they are listening to wisdom. I hope they will trust his message about the need for awakening and spiritual renewal. I hope the young people will not look at the 95-year-old evangelist and perceive him to be irrelevant because of his advanced years. Those years of experience, are years spent walking with God. His wisdom should be considered most relevant.
Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. ” The Bible often speaks of the wisdom that comes through the experience and perspective of the elderly. Are we listening with respect to the older generations? Is the character of our children as strong as the character of their grandparents? “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32). One of the greatest gifts we can teach our children is to love and honor those who are older, especially individuals that have lived their life walking with God.
The insurance dilemma may be an isolated event – or it may be a sign of what is to come. In a recent interview Billy Graham was quoted as saying, “Our early fathers led our nation according to biblical principles. Hope and change’ has become a cliché in our nation, and it is daunting to think that any American could hope for change from what God has blessed.” Billy Graham has said he believes that Jesus could return very soon. If you knew Jesus would return in the next ten years, what would you do differently?
I’ve often said that I think one of the most “proven” verses is Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Are we spending our time in the right fields, planting the most important crops? Are we taking care of the people in this world that should be our highest priorities? If your children take care of you like they have seen you care for your parents, will you be all right when you are old? Will you be happy to reap what you have sown?
The elderly need good insurance, and I hope they will be able to have that. But the elderly need the best insurance, eternal life. They need to feel safe and know they will be cared for. The elderly also need to spend their last years knowing they will spend their eternity with Jesus. Have we been obedient to God and honored the wisdom acquired by those who have served God, and us, for many years. Have we been obedient to God’s command to share the gospel with those who need to be saved?
Who do you know that could use your help today? Most won’t ask, so you will need to notice, then offer. Teach your children how to plant those seeds of sacrificial service as well. There are a lot of elderly people who need our love and attention – and biblically they deserve our help.
The help we give will one day be our own harvest. I hope that each of us will be happy to reap what we have sown.