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Monday, October 19, 2009

Horse and Buggy
A horse and buggy passing in front of our house.

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"The Wisdom of the Aged"

"Is not wisdom found among the aged?  Does not long life bring understanding?" (Job 12:12).

Yesterday afternoon I received word that my aunt passed away Sunday morning. Aunt Frances was my mom's youngest sister and the last of eight siblings living from my mother's generation (two died early in life).  Aunt Frances' three children, my cousins, were very attentive to their mother these last several months as she battled the horrible effects of cancer. We last spoke to Aunt Frances several weeks ago when she celebrated her 86th birthday.  Although very weak at the time she demonstrated an indomitable spirit in our conversation and to the very end.

I recall a comment once made by a senior in a Sunday School class I was teaching.  He said, "One of the blessings of being older is having a broadened perspective on the events of life."  Many of the elderly in our churches have a deep reservoir of wisdom and understanding (perspective).  

Church sign
A pastor friend of mine saw a church sign with this message, "Ultra-contemporary worship for the young crowd".  Well, whether or not your tastes are for "ultra-contemporary worship" (whatever that's supposed to mean), it's a sad sign of the times when this is the message a church feels it must communicate to attract the young crowd. 

Church signBut I suppose it indeed would draw a larger crowd than a sign such as "Meet some seasoned older folks who can enrich your life with a godly perspective." In fact I've never seen a sign like that!

Job asked a question over 4,000 years ago that surely demands an affirmative answer: "Is not wisdom found among the aged?  Does not long life bring understanding?"

Of course not all the aged are wise and many have lived their lives foolishly. Aging is not a guarantee that we will attain wisdom and maturity.  It comes over time as we make wise choices, learn from our unwise decisions, and as we "live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." 

My life is enriched as I consider those who have endured the rough knocks of life and have slowly matured in their Christian walk as year by year they grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. They offer timeless wisdom – that which is seen in the lives of the Bible characters thousands of years ago and every bit as applicable to our lives today.  Now at 55 years of age it's increasingly going to be my turn and I sure hope I have the same wise outlook to offer those who follow me, either by my example or counsel.

What about you today? Are my elderly friends demonstrating godly wisdom so needed by the generations who follow? If you are my age or younger are you building on the Rock, progressively attaining the true wisdom, to pass along to those that who follow behind? Older readers, today I want you to know that Brooksyne and I, along with many others, greatly value the contributions of your generation to the cause of Christ and the perspective you now offer to those who follow.

It's natural for all of us to seek out those who are similar in age since we find ourselves going through many of the same challenges and blessings related to our season of life.  But if we fail to regularly interface with older believers we miss the greatly needed perspective they can bring to our lives. Spending time with the aged who have experienced so much of the stuff of life that we will eventually face is such an important aspect to the maturing believer.  The fact is, we all need each other!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we read of those in the Bible from generations long ago who lived upright and godly lives.  They were discerning and wise in making decisions which helped them make difficult choices, such as Stephen or Joseph. Some of their choices brought about visible blessings but other choices brought forth great sacrifice, persecution, or even death.  We also read of those who were proud and foolish, thinking only of themselves, such as Samson or Demetrius the Silversmith.  They serve as warnings to us. We want to follow those commended for their faith whose promise of eternal reward awaited them on the other side.  Help us as we journey here below to model those from generations past who have been faithful to walk in Your ways.  Help us to also appreciate and surround ourselves with people older than us, who set for us an example of wisdom, maturity, and perseverance.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

All of Job 12 is a powerful statement regarding true wisdom.
* Bible scholars believe that Job likely lived during the patriarchal period some 4,000 years ago!

"How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these."  - George Washington Carver

Uncle Jim & Aunt Frances
Tomorrow morning I will be going out to the Midwest to attend the service for my aunt in Lincoln, Nebraska. Here's a photo taken a couple of years ago at our family reunion. I recall our childhood visits when we would drive up from the Kansas City area to their home in Lincoln, Nebraska. Often we would also gather as an extended family at my grandparents in Harwood, Missouri and then for many years at our annual family reunion. My last personal memory of Aunt Frances is sharing a meal with her at our reunion this last August in Oklahoma. She and my Uncle Jime lived their lives consistently and faithfully to the very end. They celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary before Uncle Jim died in early 2008.  Here's an archived daily encouragement article I wrote to honor them in 2007.

Steincross family photo 1933
I found this picture when going through my mom's belongings after she passed away four years ago.  It was taken in 1933 when my mother was twelve years old.  My grandparents are in the front center. My mom is at the lower left in the photo, the second youngest child. My Aunt Frances, the youngest child who passed away yesterday, is on the lower right side. (Click here to enlarge)

Menno Brubaker at 100
Menno Brubaker at 100 years.
As I write on the "Wisdom of the Aged" Menno came immediately to my mind. He was a steadfast servant of Christ who lived past 100. He sat in the pew behind us in the same church he was carried to as a baby 100 years earlier.  Now, folks, that's a man who remained steadfast and faithful in his community and his church!   We need a lot more folks like Menno in our churches!

Men's breakfast 10-17-09
Saturday morning we had a group of men from our church over for a men's breakfast in our home followed by a challenge from God's Word.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"The Light Of That City" Video  The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir  A great perspective on death and eternity!

"God Of The Ages"  

Note: The church signs in today's message were made online using this nifty tool.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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