Do you remember the “Manners” video we got from the library? I have tried to look for it online and can not find it or even the title anywhere. It sure was old-fashioned, but the content was valuable. It showed you how to put a napkin in your lap when eating. It discussed chewing your food with your mouth closed. It even taught that no bite of food going into your mouth should be larger than a grape. Many more manners were covered, and I bet they could have included today’s verse right in there with them.
Lev. 19:32 would be considered by most to be “good manners”. Today, though, we can see it is not only “good manners”, but actually instruction from God. This verse is in the midst of a number of verses where God is giving instruction on how His people are to treat others around them. It is of importance to note that this entire chapter is preceded with the statement “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” (Lev. 19:1) Apparently, holiness is seen and related in part to how we treat others. Reading this verse in light of that context, it means that when we respect and honor the elderly or those who are older than us, we are “being holy” in a way. As stated directly in the verse, it is connected to “revering” God.” It is a reflection of our treatment of Him. It is a reflection of our own “holiness” through Christ.
Sometimes we can read the Bible and the instruction is not crystal clear in our day and age as to how to live it out. This time, I doubt anyone would have trouble understanding. Honor older people. When you were younger, we taught you to give up your seat for someone older. I am not sure I even considered this an act of “holiness”, but perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, we should. Sometimes representing God well will be an act of us honoring an older person.
Today, as we consider the holiness of God, our part in becoming his children and reflecting his holiness, consider this piece: How can you and I honor those who are older around us? Giving up a chair or seat is one easy way. There are other ways though too. We need to respect their opinion and listen better, realizing they are speaking with wisdom and experience. The message today is to disrespect and laugh at those older than us, looking at them as ones who are perhaps “behind the times.” May we instead see them as the gifts from God that they are, to be revered and honored. We should realize how much we can learn from them. May we purposefully seek time with those around us who are older, asking them to share what they have learned from living a life walking with God so we can follow in their footsteps. Spend time with people older than you who come from a different generation. Take their wise counsel to heart-they have lived much more of life than you and I. We would be wise to text or call to ask advice from our parents or grandparents and heed their counsel. Respect them at all times. Our honor and reverence of those older, will show our reverence to God, and be part of our own transformation into a proper reflection of the holy God we claim we serve. Respecting elders as it turns out, is far more than just “good manners”.