Songs to Remember

  • Sept. 14, 2018
  • #9490

Elderly saints, although blessed by God, still appreciate words and songs of encouragement.

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada. I love being with anyone in their 80's, or even their 90’s. There's something about that generation and all they went through: the depression, World War II, and all the other changes since the 60's. You know, I thought about this when I was with Ruth Huffman, the 93-year-old mother of my friend Francie. Believe it or not, this 93-year-old shops at Chico's and still drives herself to church. And when I'm with Ruth, I can't help but sing. I tell you, the hymns she loves are pretty old; you don't often ever hear them in churches these days. And not just hymns, but the other old songs from the 30's and 40's.

I remember one time I called Ruth to thank her for a gift she gave me. She wasn't home, and I got her answering machine. So I thanked her and then I said, "Ruth, how about singing along with me on the machine right now, ‘Be sure it’s true when you say, I love you. It’s a sin to tell a lie. Millions of hearts have been broken, just because these words were spoken. I love you, yes I do, I love you.’” I feel like a McGuire sister, I really do. Well, I did that, what, a couple of years ago; and I forgot all about that little song I sang on her phone machine! But I was at dinner the other week with Ruth in Francie’s home, and she leaned over to me and said, "Joni, I want you to know that I still play your song. I saved it." And I thought, play my song? What's she talking about? That's when Ruth told me that she has kept my recording on her phone machine for four years and when she needs a lift, when she needs a little encouragement, she hits the "play old messages" button on her answering machine. I had to laugh! That is so like someone in her 90's, right! So like what my mother would have done!

So can you see why I so love my precious elderly friend here? People who are in their 80's or 90's, well, they thrive on the smallest gestures of encouragement. A note, a phone call, a song, a hymn, a hug; it doesn't take much, but they seem to possess a special grace, at least most of the 80-year-olds I know do. They have a blessing that I guess just comes with age, especially when you know the Lord as Ruth does. For them, heaven is pretty near, for them, they've seen and done enough to fill a lifetime, and for them, they possess a perspective on life that's nothing short of eternal.

I cried after I left Ruth that night, I thought you know, in just a year or so, she may well soon pass away and that great generation of hers, the ones who flew or fought in World War II; or the ones who, like Ruth, stayed home and cheered on her husband who was on a ship in the Pacific; that generation will be gone. And with them will go so many of the old songs and memories, conversations and even the hymns that live in their hearts. Proverbs 16:31 says, "Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is gained in a righteous life." Look, I just bet you know someone like Ruth, in your church, or your neighborhood.

Friend, please would you treasure that person? Share a little Christian encouragement with them. Ask them about their favorite memories. Not many of their friends are still alive, engage them in conversation. Share with them the Gospel; remind them that heaven is right on their horizon, nearer than they think. Befriend someone who is elderly, because one day (and it's not far away for all of us), we'll be the ones needing that same encouragement. Thanks for listening today on Joni and Friends.

Song: "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie"; Written by Billy Mayhew (1936); Public Domain

© Joni and Friends



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