“Now Barzillai was a very old man, eighty years of age.”
2 Samuel 19:32 (NIV)
When I was an older teenager I recall some friends from high school stopping by my home one bright summer day. One of them drove a Ford and challenged me to race him with my Chevy. I took up the challenge and went to my car to go off for the drag race. My father, who had been standing near me and heard everything, told me not to accept the challenge.
I recall saying to my Dad, “You just don’t understand.” I then got into my car and went off to an agreed upon spot for the race. As I think back on that scene I recall my unspoken judgment on my Dad that he was old and simply did not realise how important it was to find out who had the faster car.
In my more mature years I recognize that my Dad understood too well, in fact he understood the situation much better than I did. He thought through the whole thing and realised that I might lose control of my car and do damage to it or myself. He knew that such a challenge could even be deadly.
Perhaps every generation feel that they are the wise people and wisdom will die with them (Job 12:2).
A person who became a great friend of king David was a man named Barzillai. Only a few verses in the Old Testament are dedicated to telling his story. David was being persecuted by his own son and was now in exile. This elderly man, Barzillia could no longer do the work of a soldier in armour, but he did what he could. He brought King David food and supplies.
Barzillai did not ask for anything in return, he simply gave what he had to the King’s support. King David offered to take Barzillai with him back to Jerusalem as a reward for his help but the old man declined. He did what he could and it was very gratefully received by King David. When David was back in power he rewarded the sons of Barzillai because of their father’s help in his time of need.
God used the elderly man to keep David alive so he might return to Jerusalem later and resume his rule of the nation. Although David was a mighty warrior he was humbled to receive assistance from a man who could no longer serve in the army.
Age should never be a barrier to service in the cause of the Lord. He is pleased to take what anyone has and use it to work out His sovereign plan for the world. If you are submissive to the Lord He is prepared to use you to do a variety of things to help others as they serve him in their unique way. Perhaps you could write cards of comfort to others, make a phone call to someone who is hurting, or speak kindly to someone who suffers, and we can all pray!
Never think that because you are older that life has passed you by. Or if you are younger never think lightly of the elderly among us. “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.” Leviticus 19:32. There is work for all of us. Let us be about our Master’s business.