Leviticus 19:32 (NASB)
You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged.
Outdo one another in showing honor.
If we are to honor others we must do the very opposite of our natural (sinful) inclinations: we must put others before ourselves. We must put others’ interests before our own. We must put others’ comfort before our own. We must put others’ convenience before our own. These are not things we are inclined to do. We like our comfort. We want our own way. Whether it’s getting the best parking spot at the grocery store, the best deal on a car, or seat on the airplane.
What if, however, rather than taking the best seat on the plane, having the first and last word of a conversation, or focusing on the pursuit of our own pleasures, we considered other’s feelings, needs, and privileges?
This will take patience as well as an intentional thoughtfulness toward others. In particular, moreover, such a patient and intentional thoughtfulness is even more necessary when offering the proper honor to elderly folks. They move more slowly. They think more deliberately. They might even offer different values and perspectives quite foreign to us. We may not easily understand them.
We too easily forget that we stand on the shoulders of all those who have gone before us. By honoring those who are older than we are, we honor God who has given us all life, wisdom, and the opportunity to gain from the experiences of those who have gone before us.