I stood by my grandpa’s bed. He managed a gentle smile, looking at me with those eyes that could warm me in the deepest part of my soul.

Without a dad around during my teen years, my grandpa had become a father to me in many ways.

Though I’d learned much from my grandfather, as he lived his final hours, I felt there was another lesson God wanted to give me. My heart swelled with honor for him. He asked me,

“Will you pray with me, son?”

I prayed with him to profess his faith in Christ. Though he only could find the breath to whisper these words of faith, I know heaven heard them loudly.

Then I asked him,

“Grandpa, will you bless me?”

Pulling together what strength that remained, he lifted his arms, inviting me to his embrace. In a suddenly stunning voice that could be heard beyond the ICU room, as relatives and hospital staff stood by, he held me to his chest and said,

“My son! My son! I bless you.”

55 years of marriage flashed through my mind.

His years of starting a business from scratch.

His tenacity to start over and reinvent his business when times changed.

His legacy of generosity, love and faithfulness to his family and friends.

Something happened inside me. I can’t explain it.

I believe one of the greatest gifts my grandpa gave me was in his last moments of life.

I heard a message from a friend today, Pastor Jeff Fulk, that brought all of this to mind. Though I primarily work with youth movements and churches full of people under 25, as I look back on my life, I see the most significant people who have shaped my life are the elderly. From my older partners and board members who support our family and welcome us into their homes, to the elderly counselors who find the time to be with us and root us on to prioritize our marriage and family over ministry work and finish well.

I think the enemy tries to keep the elderly on the sidelines.

Thinking you have nothing left to contribute.

Feeling discouraged. Alone.

Dying quietly as the more “important,” younger people try to make their mark on the world.

What kinds of blessings does the older generation have yet to give to the young that the enemy does not want to occur?

Do you know the greatest legacy you leave may be in your later years? Don’t sit on the sidelines and believe the enemy’s lies that diminish your importance and value. Your greatest impact may be yet to come.

Isaiah 46 says,

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.”

He is the God who remains our God through our entire life. No matter what age you are, embrace the blessing that comes from honoring the elderly.

 

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