There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38
Have you ever wondered why these three verses were included in Scripture? In keeping with the overall theme of this week’s devotions, we might conclude that Anna the prophetess was insignificant. She was up in years, had no husband, and spent all of her time in the temple. But that’s the best part. Because she had spent so much time worshiping God, she was attuned to the Spirit of God. Even though she was in her mid-eighties, she blessed the Messiah up close, something God-fearing Jews wait all their lives to do but never get the chance.
I have talked to men and women over the age of seventy who truly believe they are too old to be useful in the Kingdom of God. I think that mission groups do a great disservice to these seasoned veterans (and to the young people who would be blessed as a result of rubbing shoulders with them) by placing age restrictions on who can and who can’t go on missions trips. Look at the experience and depth of insight these Godly men and women bring to anything they do! And in many cultures, having that “gray head of hair” on your team brings maturity and authority that no enthusiastic high school teen could convey.
Nobody is insignificant in God’s eyes. Somehow we need to do better in showing this to the elderly among us. They still have a lot to offer and we still have a lot to learn.