Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. (1 Tim. 5:1)

ONE DAY, ROBERTSON MCQUILKIN, former esteemed president of Columbia International University, drove an elderly friend on an errand. Crippled with arthritis, she moved slowly and lived in pain.

“Robertson,” she asked, “why does God let us get old and weak? Why must I hurt so?”

“I’m not sure,” he said, “but I have a theory.”

“What is your theory?”

He hesitated to share, but she insisted.

“I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical. But strength and beauty of age is spiritual. We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary, so we’ll be sure to concentrate on the strength and beauty that is forever.”

Mr. McQuilkin’s theory can help us appreciate the great worth of the aged and inspire us to exhort the elderly as if they were our parents. When we value what God values, our perspectives change. We can treat those in our lives who are elderly with absolute purity, even when they wonder why there is pain in growing old.

Whether we are aged ourselves or getting closer every day, understanding the point of our being remains an important part of life. It might help to think about the eternal strength and beauty the mature possess. We can then glean from their experiences and focus on what really matters. In God’s economy, spiritual strength outweighs physical strength every time.

Please God today by encouraging an elderly neighbor and truly listening to him or her.

Susan Browning Schulz is a wife and active mom of three grown children. She lives riverside in northwest Georgia and loves leading her small group.