The Elderly Advantage: Seeing More

Jesus saw more. He saw what others missed in a setting. He saw what mattered in an interaction. He understood the reasons for a situation when others overlooked it. Jesus saw more. In this episode of Breaking Bread, Arlan Miller and Matt Kaufmann highlight critical purpose for the elderly among us. Help us like Jesus helped His disciples – help us see more.

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Show Notes:

Help us see what others miss:

  • Just as a passenger in a car can see more of the surroundings than the driver, we need the elderly in our communities to help us see what we often miss.
  • Jesus helped His disciples see what most missed. He pointed out a poor widow casting in more money than the rich. Something they had all missed. Mark 12:41-44

Help us see what matters:

  • Just as a skilled carpenter, doctor, teacher, parent and investor knows what matters in their craft, the elderly in our communities know what matters in life. They can help us see what matters.
  • Jesus helped His disciples see what mattered. He devoted time to young children when they didn’t think it was time well spent. Matthew 19:13-15

Help us see why:

  • We like to connect the dots between cause and effect. The elderly in our communities often have insights into these causal relationships. They can help us see why.
  • Jesus helped His disciples understand why. He helped them understand the reason a man was born blind. It was not what they expected. John 9:1-4


There’s wisdom of perspective and just experience this idea that over time you’ve seen things happen over and over and over again, and it gives you a broader perspective.  

Welcome everyone to Breaking Bread, the podcast brought to you by Apostolic Christian Counseling and Family Services. Excellent to have you along. Arlan Miller is with me today. Welcome Arlan. Good to be here. Thanks for the opportunity, Matt. We’re going to talk to a special subset of our audience. It really applies to everybody, but a special subset. And this topic, Help Us See More, is really geared to the elderly among us. I think there’s a tremendous advantage that the elderly, or we could substitute the wiser by experience, have to offer the church community. 

And we’re going to let you self-define when you feel like you’re in that elderly category, but I think you’re exactly right, Matt. It’s a beautiful thing. When you can look across a congregation or a lunchroom type setting, or just think about the relationships in your lives. And if you’re in that more experienced category, there’s so much you have to offer. 

And we want to encourage and just spend a little bit of time talking through that. Arlan, I think we miss the advantage and the unique, I think, communal experience that many of us share in the church. Right. And you know what, we find sometimes, so we just did this in our home church. We had a testimony night of some 90-year-olds. We’re blessed with several 90-year-olds. 

And when Katie and I were trying to get that lined up and we’re talking to a few of these 90-year-olds, they’re like, oh, I don’t have anything to say, or I don’t have anything to offer. And yet the night was such a blessing and so rich. Years of experience and wisdom and just life walking with Jesus that they can encourage and pass on. We don’t take advantage of it. I think that’s a great setup. And really, we’re going to give some categories of what these folks can offer. Arlan, I hear often, oh, I’ve done my time. It’s time for the younger generation to pick up. Absolutely. True. You know, they might pull themselves out of this effort or that volunteer effort or leadership in that role, but that doesn’t mean necessarily there isn’t another role to pick up. 

And then we’d like to define maybe a bit of that space and it’s not hard work. So, I want to be clear about that. I think this is critical. And we’re calling this episode, Help Us See More. Arlan, blind spots are tricky, aren’t they? Yeah. Blind spots are tricky. And by definition, you don’t know they’re there. 

We don’t know certain things until time has passed and life has gone on. And so those who have gone before us and have tread some ground and have gone through different experiences, we can learn so much from that. Those of us in the midst of it, stuck with limited sight, we can’t see, we need that help to see more. 

And perhaps those of us who are making decisions or in leadership critically need the skill set that this group has to offer for us to do our work. And we’ve really subdivided that into three different categories here today, Arlan. And we’re going to take each one at a time, and we’re going to lead it with a passage, a day in the life, maybe a moment in the life of Jesus, where Jesus did exactly what we’re asking and encouraging. 

I hope this comes across as an encouragement for our older brothers and sisters to do. Okay. Sure. Go ahead and set up that first one. So, I’m going to read a familiar passage to you from Mark Chapter 12. It says that Jesus sat over against the treasury and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury. And many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto his disciples and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you that this poor widow hath cast more in than all they which have cast into the treasury. For all they did cast in of their abundance, but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all of her living. 

So, this is an idea of kind of help us see what others miss. Jesus took more in, in that moment, than what everybody else did. Everybody else went home talking about the volume of giving, that so and so and so and so and so and so, and they didn’t see this poor widow, but Jesus did. Jesus took more in than what most of us do. 

I think that’s a beautiful thing, Matt. There’s this wisdom of perspective and just experience this idea that over time you’ve been as a passenger and have seen things happen over and over and over again, and it gives you a broader perspective than when you’re almost tunnel vision and stuck in the midst of it. 

You use passenger, which is, I think, a great illustration. So my kids are starting to drive which puts me in the passenger seat. I have noticed things in homesteads, two miles away from my house, that I didn’t notice before. I didn’t know my neighbors were growing blueberries, for example. I didn’t know that they had an orchard, because I’ve always been in the driver’s seat. But now that I’m in the passenger seat, I’m seeing what I previously had missed. 

This is critical. And this is, I believe, part of what God intends for the maturation of a community. Yeah, I think we can get very focused on what we know and assured of what we think is right. And the opportunity to have someone with us encouraging to just ask good questions and think about another angle, I think is a really powerful thing. 

Yeah. And it’s really not criticism of the driver. When I was driving, I had to focus on the road. It required me to focus there, and I was not able to focus on the surroundings. What an advantage we have, that in the community, we have those that go from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat, but we’re still in the car together. 

Yeah, we’re still in the car and we still have the conversation and we still have the dialogue and I mean frankly, man I’m amazed at how good your kids must be as drivers so you can actually focus on, yes, it’s taken time. It’s a really fun experience, actually, to be carted around, to be taken.  

Well, let’s go into the next one. So, the first one was, help us see what others miss. The next one will be, help us see what matters. We’ve got another passage in the Day in the Life of Jesus, Arlan. Knowing what matters, though, just to set this up, is really, really critical. 

That’s what separates the good carpenter from the mediocre carpenter, knowing what matters. That’s what sets parenting, knowing what matters when parenting kids. It separates those who don’t have expertise from those that do have expertise, knowing what matters is huge. And here’s an example where Jesus knew and saw what matters, Matthew 19, it’s familiar. 

Verse 13 says, then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray. And the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me. For of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them and departed thence. 

Jesus saw in that moment what mattered. And the disciples didn’t, yeah, they had lost their perspective. A little bit recently, we’ve had two different funerals in church here. And I was reading through the obituaries and both of them said the same thing, almost the exact same thing, word for word. 

And these individuals were both in their upper seventies, low eighties. They said that they love to spend time with their children and with their grandchildren. And it brought me back to just watching my own father as he neared the end of his life. It seemed like focus was on the grandchildren. 

That’s where he wanted to spend any time he could was just with them and watch them. And it would give him great joy just to see their freshness and their vitality and all those kinds of things. What really matters, right? That’s the question. And we all have limited time. We have limited energy. 

There are only so many places that we can put our attention and our focus. And I think that benefit of age and experience, there’s something there where it helps us understand. No, we need to maybe shift our focus here a little bit. I think your examples are spot on and further illustrate the point that we have more clarity in what matters later in life, don’t we? 

There is clarity there. What an encouragement to the elderly among us, you have more clarity than we on this. Yeah, you know this saying you see the forest from the trees Yeah, we get stuck in the trees and help us see the forest. There’s an old author preacher said something to this effect. 

He said he had a list of resolutions and one of his resolutions he says resolved me to live my life as I wish I would have lived and just that clarity of that statement to look back and say, no, this is what I need to be focusing on. This is what really matters. Help me to have that wisdom to live that now so I don’t regret later.  

I love that. Arlan, go into the third one. Sure. So, if you look in a passage in John 9 here, this is going to talk about the question of help us to see why. It says, and as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither had this man sin, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.  

So here we see this, we always ask that question, why? Why? And the Scripture speaks of this idea of experience, and experience works faith, it works patience. Patience has its perfect work, it says in James, and patience works hope, it says in Romans, that does not make us ashamed, but it always helps us shift the question and see a little bit different angle on why something is happening.  

God gets bigger in the scenario, and all the things I think we have maybe fixated on get a little bit smaller. In this moment in Christ’s life, the disciples knew it was either this man’s sin or his parents. I mean, we know that much, Jesus, which one? And Jesus is like, no. You don’t know at all. It’s neither one. But being human, we’re going to want to connect dots between cause and effect. We should, that’s critically important, but we need help doing it and helping us see why is a huge need. 

Yeah. And if you have never seen the end of a story, you’re seeing how it turns out on the other side. It’s really hard not to get focused in on that moment, but once you have gone through and seen the faithfulness of God on the other end, I think that helps you speak with a level of settledness and that perfect patience and just that clarity, that is really powerful. 

And I think, Matt, there’s a way that these messages can be shared that’s not necessarily helpful. It’s not, I told you so. That’s not what we read here in the Scriptures. I just don’t picture that being Jesus’s demeanor, but Jesus’s demeanor was that loving and gentle, there’s more to this story. Let’s talk about it from a little bit different angle.  

And that’s so helpful and can be so powerful in our lives. Thanks, Arlan. Help us see what others miss. Help us see what matters. And help us see why. Help us connect these dots. We, the church, all of us individuals, parents in parenting, in our career lives, we need help seeing more. 

And we have a community that offers us these things. And so, I would just encourage our listeners, if we’re on the inexperienced side, that we would engage the elderly on these three matters. And if we’re on the experienced side, that you would engage us on these three. It’s critically important. You know, Matt, it’s just a beautiful picture. 

This idea of just humbly walking together. Humbly learning and humbly sharing together of what God is doing in our lives and what God has done in our lives. It’s a beautiful picture of the body of Christ and like you, I encourage our listeners, whether you’re experienced or inexperienced to lean into that humble walking together. 

Love that. And thanks each one for being here. 


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