Western societies don’t value human life as they used to. While the Bible commands us to care for the elderly, our culture increasingly sees them as a burden on society.
But that’s not how God sees them.
The Lord commanded His people to respect their elders: “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32, ESV).
The Bible makes it clear that each human life is precious and intrinsically valuable, not a burden to endure. God wants us to honor and take care of the elderly and those who have taken care of us, such as our parents and other spiritual mentors. And that takes a special kind of leadership.
Learning to Lead Your Leaders
How do you make that shift from relying on your mentors to taking care of them? It’s a tough transition, says Gospel singer Ernie Haase—one he’s working through right now.
“I’m in a new phase of my life now,” he says, “where my mentors have gotten feeble because of age and the people I’ve relied on are now relying on me. I’m at a new stage where I’ve had to wake up and realize that it’s my turn to lead in a way I’ve never led before. It’s taken a whole new level of being intentional.”
This new season of leadership for Ernie means he’s had to discern what’s important in his life and what isn’t. The past year, the word “essential” has taken on a new meaning for him.
“I’ll use the metaphor of the Ark,” he says. “Noah was told to take what was essential into the Ark and he gathered his family together. In this last year, I’ve been gathering up my loved ones and, with faith, being intentional.”
The kind of leadership it takes to care for the elderly as well as the rest of your family requires a God-given wisdom. That includes holding onto what’s essential is letting go of what’s nonessential. For Ernie, that means letting go of relevance and what people think of him.
“This is going to be my 33rd year of touring full time, which requires constantly having to reinvent yourself and rewriting the next song, planning the next tour,” he says. “Having all that stripped away through COVID-19 gave me a chance to say that it’s not important. That’s not my identity. My identity is Christ.”
Those aren’t just words for Ernie. Although he and his group, Signature Sound, are eager to get back to touring, they will likely never go back to the volume of concerts that they’ve done in the past. And that’s on purpose. Ernie wants to make sure he gets the down time he needs to recharge spiritually and creatively.
After all, Ernie’s goal with his tours is not to pack in as many concerts as possible. It’s to be effective in his witness for Christ. That’s why he’s so excited about performing in the upcoming Gospel music event at the Ark Encounter.
From August 2 through September 10, the 40 Days & 40 Nights of Gospel Music event will feature renowned Gospel artists like Karen Peck & New River, the Isaacs, Lynda Randle, Brian Free & Assurance, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound and many others. Attendees will also get to hear preachers like Dr. Jerry Vines, Dr. David Jeremiah, Jentezen Franklin, Dr. Robert Jeffress and more.
Ernie believes God is going to encourage and spiritually recharge believers at this event.
“The author of Hebrews said, ‘Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together as you see the Day approaching,’” Ernie says. “It’s just important to be together. So that’s what the 40 Days & 40 Nights event is about. I just hope everybody feels connected to something greater than themselves, because they are.”