Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Wisdom Wednesday: Pay a Little Mind
Lyrics | Israel Lyrics | Friend Of God Lyrics
I was sitting at some in-law relatives on Sunday for Easter and while we were around the table, my wife’s grandfather started to tell a story of life. About ten seconds in, he was interrupted by a couple other family members. He slinked back in his chair and remained quiet throughout the rest of the meal. He seldom spoke after that and I could feel that his stories had gotten long on the relatives and they didn’t wish to listen to him, ever.
As a society, we have gotten that way. There are more elderly in nursing homes than ever before. Yes, people are living longer, but younger generations show a tendency that they wish to endeavor on their lives and place the people that could be the greatest gift of wisdom away. First, because most no longer have the desire to care for their elders and secondly, so that they don’t have to listen to wisdom and can strike in the ways they see fit.
As the Lord spoke to Moses in Leviticus, He made an interesting commentary. In Leviticus 19:32, as he is telling Moses things to live by, this point is struck on: “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God, I am the Lord.” I find it interesting that he commands that we rise in the presence of the aged. God wants people to walk hand in hand, even if that means that sometimes we have to walk a little slower. I was involved in a church several years ago that actually told me that their church was about the 30-somethings. They felt it was time to pass the torch on to the younger generation. What that church failed to realize that the real message that was being passed was that the elder statesmen (and women) of the church were no longer wanted, unless it was a job no one wanted to do.
Personally, I think that passing the torch is important. There is a time for it. But it also needs to be done with dignity and honor. That’s where the second half of the verse comes in. We do need to show respect for the elderly as we move the church forward.
I remember being young and stupid once. At 16, I didn’t think my mom was too intelligent. I thought even less of my dad. As I grew older and grew up, I realized that they were smarter than I thought. Job 12:12 gives us another nugget of life. “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” Time and life lessons make us wiser as we get older.
Finally, I like two of Solomon’s comments in Proverbs. The first is Proverbs 20:29, “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.” In truth, we do honor strength in youth. Think of all the athletics that kids get into. The schedules even press into Sundays in some towns. The way to be a hero and gain utmost respect is by being an all star, not by making the honor roll anymore. Athletes get coverage on TV, scholars get page nine in the paper. I do chuckle at the gray hair being the splendor of the old. I’ve noticed that men are getting grayer faster nowadays. I haven’t hit 40 and I have gray hair (not all of it). I shouldn’t complain about gray hair, most times I’m just glad I have hair. I just wish there wasn’t so much on my back, yuck!
Finally, in Proverbs 16:31, Solomon tells us that “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; It is attained by a righteous life.” So if you see an elder person that’s a little gray, give them some time to tell you about the things that make their life so joyous. And for guys and gals my age, I guess I should be saying bring on the gray and don’t even think about Grecian formula.
I love you guys!