Lesson 1 -- third quarter 2001
June 3, 2001
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications
What do those older than we have to offer us?
Rehoboam strikes me as a cocky, arrogant sort of fellow. At least he had enough sense to realize he should get input from others. Alas, he lacked the wisdom to heed the advice of his elders. But we can't do anything about him anymore; he's been dead awhile. We yet live, though, and should have the good judgment to carefully consider the counsel of those older than we. What stands behind their input and advice?
Long experience. The longer one lives, the more experience one has. That figures. Generally speaking, increasing experience leads to increasing knowledge. Therefore, to be older is to know more.
Consider someone half your age. Have you ever heard him declare some great truth he has just discovered? And you thought (though hopefully not scoffed), "Duh! That's so obvious and you're just catching on now?" Well, hang on a bit; remember you are twice his age. What is so obvious to you now you were likely oblivious to when you were his age.
Now consider someone twice your age. Might it be possible that she knows a few "obvious" things that you haven't figured out yet? You would be wise to pay attention to what she has to say. Why wait till you're her age to learn it on your own? That approach makes no sense at all.
Much observation. Those who are observant know a lot. From their own efforts they know what works and what does not work. And by observing the efforts of others they learn even more of what works and doesn't. Someone who is older than you has had that much more time to observe and learn from the efforts and lives of others.
In addition to that, though, observation can teach us about God's works and ways. The more observing a person does should result in a greater acquaintance with God and His ways. This means that someone older than I is more likely to have observed and learned more about God and the right way to live.
What do our peers have to offer us?
I wonder why Rehoboam decided to pass over the wisdom of the aged in favor of the counsel of his peers. Well, why would I or you do so? Perhaps factors like these enter in.
Current experience. For all the good experience that an older person might have, it could be outdated. For example, I have lots of experience with manual typewriters; I could teach you a few tricks like bold-facing, underlining and centering. But word processors and computers have outdated those tricks.
Without question, our peers are more likely to have up-to-date experience than do our elders. That doesn't make either type of experience intrinsically better or worse. It just means that you can usually offer more current experience.
Ambition and vision. These belong to youth, no question about it. The aged have it also, of course, but not near like the youth. These factors tend to drive youth, so they take on a special significance as youth choose by whose advice they will live.
So whose counsel do I follow?!
Decide by weighing their godliness, wisdom, motivation and fruits.
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