"Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity." ( Timothy 5:1)
The Apostle Paul deals with many different types of relationships in his epistles, but perhaps the most delicate relationship is with those who are older in years. Like the seasons of the year, each of us gradually grow older until we find ourselves in the winter of our lives. The first 70 years are normally filled with vim and vigor as we fulfill the desires of our hearts. But if by reason of strength we survive beyond this point the Scriptures indicate that the days ahead are going to be filled with labor and sorrow. Labor, in the sense that even the mundane things of life, such as rising from a chair, becomes burdensome.
To complicate matters further, sorrow surrounds us like a tattered garment as death robs us of those we love. Little wonder that Paul admonishes us to esteem the senior members of "The Body of Christ" as fathers and mothers. Their plight deserves our sensitivity and their years of experience our respect. Furthermore, it will serve us well to remember that someday soon we will be the patriarch or matriarch of our families.
In Ecclesiastes, wise old Solomon, stricken in years himself, describes the aging process that creeps up on us. Solomon wrote this; "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (Eccl. 12:1).
Someday the reaper will stand at the foot of our deathbed and the "mourners [will] go about the streets" whispering: Has he passed on. There are thousands of ways to leave this earthly tabernacle, but perhaps the most common today is when the "pitcher is broken at the fountain." In short, a fatal heart attack. To date mine has not been fatal.
My wife of 51 years now, Linda, and I live in a Florida retirement community and enjoy life most of the time, when sickness and death are not plaguing us our family and community. In the 10 years we've lived here we've seen a lot of death... we've seen some die with peace on their face even while the cancer finishes its job; while others, sadly, who have refused Him are inwardly tormented within, not knowing and enjoying the security of the love of the Lord or their eternal destiny. We pray for those who not yet died physically that they may humble themselves to receive the Lord's own eternal resurrection life that is offered to them so freely...that they never die.
"Then shall the dust (of our physical body) return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (vs. 7).
"The sting(er) of death is sin" (1Cor 15:56a) imbedded in the flesh physical bodies of all men and it leaves their bodies only upon death. Thanks be unto God that Christ died for our sins thereby removing its sting. Thus, according to Paul's epistles death is merely a passage way into eternal life for all those who believe.
"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (Hebrews 2:14-15).
No one looks forward to growing old, but hopefully we will do so gracefully and with dignity. In any case we as true believers should have no fear... because we will not miss a heart beat when physical death come. Believers have a physical heart that beats and stops...but our innermost transformed heart, renewed by His Spirit, will beat eternally in glory. As they say, "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself." The blood of Christ is our eternal life insurance policy which has a rider guaranteeing our future resurrection to dwell eternal in the heavens (2Cor 5:1)! "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (from judgment)." (Acts 16:31)