Should assembly overseers retire when they reach a certain age?

Should assembly overseers retire when they reach a certain age?

Answers to such questions will hopefully give guidance without being critical. In a society whose mantra includes "Question authority!" strong criticism of overseers is all too common, although still contrary to Scripture (Heb 13:7, 17; 1Ti 5:17, 19; Psa 105:15).

The New Testament does not give us any precedent for the retirement of elders. Perhaps the Old Testament instructions regarding the service of the Levites (Numbers 8:25) give us some guidance, however. The Levites served from the age of twenty five, but did not "enter into the service" and "do the work" until they were thirty (7 times in Num 4). They ceased active service at 50, but remained "with their brethren" "to keep the charge" (8:25). The ages and the specifics were for the Levites. The principles are intended "for our learning" (Rom 15:4).

Men to whom the Lord has entrusted a specific service, such as the oversight of the flock, give the prime of their years to that service. They never retire from involvement in that work. In their early years, they learn. In their prime years, they serve. In their remaining years, they support those who serve. Their experience and wisdom not only give ballast to the oversight, but greatly enhance the necessary continuity of testimony (2Ti 2:2) from one generation to the next.

D. Oliver