They will flourish… and bear fruit in old age.” (Psalm 92:13-14)
Talking about faith to people who are advanced in years may seem like a daunting task. An assumption could be made that older adults have had more time than anyone to consider their faith and probably made up their minds years ago on if they believe in God. At a certain point in life, it can be hard to change, and with God, there is always the power and hope that change is possible. If you are considering sharing your faith with an older adult, like everything else, it starts with praying and caring for the person. Love and respect are vital to sharing your faith. Ian Knox, with FaithLaterInLife.org suggest the following four suggestions on how to approach sharing your faith with an older person.
- Speak of their potential. When David says ‘I was young and now I am old’ (Psalm
37:25), his words are interpreted today to mean ‘I’m useless’, ‘I’m forgotten’, ‘I’m
hopeless’. God says otherwise. He speaks of being with us in our ‘old age’ and with our
‘grey hairs’ (Isaiah 46:4), helping and keeping us. His plan is for us to ‘still bear fruit in
old age’, staying ‘fresh and green’ (Psalm 92: 14), echoed in Browning’s words.
- Speak of God’s love for older ones and his respect for old age. The Bible is full of
amazing stories of God using older people in his plans: Moses, Caleb, Anna and
Simeon, Abraham and Sarah, Zechariah and Elizabeth -the list goes on.
- John 3 is a passage for older people: Nicodemus is, on his own admission, ‘old’ (verse
4). John 3:16 is for older people! Jesus gives new lives for old.
- Eternity, and its answer to death, is a great subject for an older person. They may well
know the first few verses of John 14 by heart. I sat with an old man, a neighbor, and
started to read, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled…’ (verse 1). I was amazed as he
recited along with me right up to verse 6. It was so easy to talk about heaven with him.
He trusted Christ as a result – and died a fortnight later.