1 Samuel 12:2
And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day.
Samuel revealed a bit about himself when he said, I am old and grayheaded. Samuel felt that the people rejected him because of his age. He knew that he was old, and he felt as if the people didn't want him because of his age. Let's face it; he didn't have the energy or the charisma of his youth. Likely, Samuel had lost a step, and his insecurity came out when he said that he was old and gray-headed.
Several years ago, I worked for a man who was a master of making the elderly feel wanted. He made a statement to me that I have never forgotten, and I have tried to follow his advice since that time. He said, “Find an old person and make them great.” This was a wise statement by a preacher who was in his early forties. He had an older preacher friend who many would never have preach. He brought him to our church and scheduled him to preach in our conferences to expose him to other churches that we influenced. This older man had started many churches and was a great man, but nobody would have known it had my pastor at the time not found a great man and made him great.
My mind goes to Dr. Jack Hyles, who made Dr. John R. Rice a great man. Yes, Dr. Rice was a great man without Bro. Hyles pushing him, but Bro. Rice had taken a strong stand, and many had made him an outcast. Bro. Hyles got close to Dr. Rice and scheduled him in every meeting he was scheduled to preach in, and the rest is history in that we look at Dr. Rice as a great man. This happened because Bro. Hyles found an older man and made him great.
I remember Bro. Hyles in the latter years of his life opening Youth Conference to the seven thousand teenagers in attendance. He made a startling statement that some likely did not catch. He said, “I don’t know why you teenagers would come to hear an old man preach.” Many didn’t catch what he said in that statement, but it rang in my ears. The greatest pastor of our lifetime was showing a bit of his insecurity in his old age and wondered if people really wanted to hear him anymore. Yes, we did want to hear him, and no, we were not patronizing him. However, he needed the assurance in his old age that he was as relevant to us as he always had been.
You must understand that the older a person becomes, the more their insecurities expose themselves. They don't think that anybody really wants to be around them, but you must not let them die an insignificant death. These gray heads have fought battles that you have never seen, and they deserve the right to be great as an older person.
Let me challenge you, find an older person and make them great. Spend time with the elderly and listen to them and their experiences; there is much wisdom you can glean if you will listen intently. Love that older person and make them feel great. I know we live in times when most promote the youthful person who has charisma, but that youthful person doesn't have the wisdom of the gray-headed. Don’t patronize the elderly; they know when you are doing that, but truly want them and make them great, and don’t let them die without you gleaning every bit of wisdom from them that you can because you will one day get old yourself.