Colossians 4:2 tells us, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 says, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.” James 1:3 also reads, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
The Bible is clear in these passages and many others that our God is steadfast, and that we are to be steadfast in our service to Jesus. What exactly does it mean however, to be steadfast? Webster’s dictionary defines the word as “firm in determination or belief, or adherence, loyal.”
In this congregation and others I have pastored, seniors are inspirations when it comes to steadfastness. While the rest of us may struggle with our spread-too-thin schedules and non-committal lifestyles, seniors are serving our Lord and their churches Sunday after Sunday, week after week, year after year. As the church covenant from years ago states, they are giving “the church a sacred pre-eminence over all institutions of human origin.” They set a shining example for the rest of us to follow.
Seniors are steadfast in church attendance. More than any other age group, we can count on our seniors to be present faithfully for Sunday School, for worship, and for mid-week Bible study. They rarely miss – being together as God’s people is a very high priority for them. They are firmly committed to regular participation in the local church.
Seniors are steadfast in church giving. More than any other age group, they know how to give. They usually live frugally, yet often give generously and consistently. Some of the oldest members are no longer able to make it to services because of their physical condition, but they still mail their offerings to the church office.
Seniors are steadfast in church participation. Many seniors serve on church boards and committees, giving their time and energy to support various ministries. I’ve heard many retired seniors say that they have been tempted to go back to work so they can get some rest! Despite being advanced in years however, they freely and frequently offer their time and energy to church causes.
Seniors are steadfast in Christian missions. Seniors are well acquainted with home and hospital visitation, so they will often lead the way in offering this personal touch of Christian outreach. Many members of the American Baptist Men and the American Baptist Women’s Ministries are seniors, and their work is invaluable. Before the beginning of each season at Camp Cowen, the American Baptist Men make needed repairs and renovations on the facilities so the young people can have a place to learn more about Christ. The American Baptist Women’s Ministries have been steadfast in missions support, including their Love Gift offerings. Through these offerings, they provide much-needed support to missionaries sharing the love and message of Jesus. There are many other ways in which our senior men and women set an example in Christian outreach.
When is the last time you have thanked our seniors for their steadfastness? Is God using their example to motivate you to greater consistency in Christian service? As we seek to reach younger generations for Jesus, may we never neglect to draw upon the powerful inspiration that older generations offer us.