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Thursday, November 8, 2012
Senior ministry couples in our church
Left to right: Gerald and Fran Book, Jim and Eva Ketner, Jesse and Wilma Dourte, along with our current pastor and his wife, John and Faithe Keefer.
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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).
We have a special grouping of friends in our church which I really appreciate. Three retired ministry couples add a seasoned spiritual gravitas who attend our home church. We've been a part of this church since moving to Pennsylvania in early 2001 (apart from the years we served other churches in an interim pastoral role). During the first several years the church had two retired ministers who are now with the Lord.
Many years ago I was teaching the senior Sunday School class and an elderly class member shared this perspective, "One of the blessings of being older is having a broadened perspective on the events of life." Indeed many of the elderly in our churches have a deep reservoir of wisdom and understanding (perspective), and experience which demonstrates an ancient observation made by Job in our daily text. "Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?"
However that's not the outlook many favor. I have noted an increasing tendency in our age of the devaluing of the wisdom of the elderly. In fact I have read articles that describe the glee some young progressives feel when these old folks, whom they see getting in the way of "progress", as they understand it, are removed (perhaps making the exception with their own elderly family members). They feel so smart and wise. (See Romans 1:22)
This is mostly due to the tendency (thank God) of the elderly to hold to a more traditional outlook regarding what constitutes morality and Bible truth, which results in right living. Year by year as we see these folks pass on we also see a greater slide into decadence. It's especially evident on election day when we see more and more laws instituted that legalize actions that those in previous decades would never have approved and certainly not voted for.
There are some other characteristics of what is perceived as being "smart" today. Of course more of the young have a greater amount of formal education than previous generations (which in far too many cases is little more than godless indoctrination). The young also tend to associate being tech savvy with being smart, which is rather amusing on the surface, but painfully sad when we observe the results of such thinking! (There's a lot more to being smart than knowing how to use a smart phone!)
A pastor friend of mine told me about seeing 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". In our area we have a church that now boasts on their church sign, "Coffeehouse worship". Is that what it takes to get people into the church house?
But I suppose it indeed would draw a larger crowd than a sign such as "Meet some older folks who can enrich your life with a godly perspective." In fact I've never seen a sign like that so I decided to post one through computer graphics!!
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 "deny ungodliness and worldly desires and live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:12).
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 – similar to 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 58 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 your 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 experiences and interests related to our season of life. But if we fail to regularly interface with older believers we miss the greatly needed perspective they 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, devoted in their duties such as Anna and Simeon who served in the temple. So many serve as examples of those who walked in Your ways from their youth and remained faithful through their golden years. Some of their choices brought about multiple blessings and 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, Ananias and Sapphira or Demetrius the Silversmith. They also serve as warnings to us. We highly esteem those older than us, many whose self-worth is based on productivity and accomplishment, which makes them feel no longer useful in their senior years. Yet their example of wisdom, maturity, and perseverance, especially as they experience the pains and limitations that come with aging, serve as a tremendous example for those of us who will soon follow in their steps. It's in the name of Jesus that we pray for our senior friends. Amen.
All of Job 12 is a powerful statement regarding true wisdom.
Henry B. Smith Jr. shares this story: An pastor friend gathers together a group of teenagers for a Bible study. The topic is dinosaurs and the Bible. The pastor shows them basic evidence that is consistent with the creation account in Genesis, demonstrating there is a problem with the evolutionary, long age framework that has been drummed into their heads since kindergarten. It is not an in-depth presentation by any means. The kids are almost completely unresponsive. Their reaction is characterized by a seeming inability to even grasp what the pastor is taking about. In the middle of the presentation, my friend has to scuttle his teaching agenda, subsequently dumbing it down to an almost embarrassing level of simplicity, far below that which teenagers should be able to cognitively process. "I perceive their minds are simply mush," he soberly states, "the boys' brains are saturated with video game stimuli and the girls are worried about texting their friends and talking about the next social activity. This is frightening."
For further study I commend this article Smith wrote titled "Failed Resuscitations"
George Washington Carver is one of my heroes in history. He wrote: "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." Several years ago we wrote an article about Carver here.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"When It's All Been Said And Done" Video Robin Mark
When it's all been said and done
There is just one thing that matters
Did I do my best to live for truth
Did I live my life for You?
"Legacy" Video Nicole Nordeman
I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy
I had one of those unexpected interruptions yesterday afternoon. While brushing my teeth a piece of a tooth fell out. Thankfully my dentist was able to get me in for an appointment late in the afternoon. Turns out the tooth needed extracted and I was grateful that there was no delay and after a shot of anesthesia Dr. Dinse was able to remove the tooth. I appreciate the good dental care we have and Dr. Dinse is especially considerate and polite. (This brings a recollection of a dentist we knew from years ago who yelled at his staff and patients, including children!) The photo shows Dr. Dinse and his office manager, our longtime friend Wendy Gambini, wife to Jim, who was our pastor for several years when we first moved back to Pennsylvania in 2001. Jim and Wendy remain good friends.
This photo has nothing to do with today's message! I pass this old RV on a farm about a mile from our home and am intrigued about what in the world it's been through. Thus far I haven't asked Lester, the farmer. It sort of looks like it was pulled out of a lake! It also somehow brings to mind this song! (Video)
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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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