I feel bad for him because my hubby is the most consistent member of the team in terms of attendance and consistency of play. He has been exemplary in his demeanor and has been a true friend to many of the guys on the team. He may not be as fast as he used to be but he can still swing a bat well and snag a ball. He can still field those hot ones zooming towards third base. He can tell immediately when a ball comes off a bat where and how far it's going and can help steer the less talented and less experienced outfielders to the ball. He knows exactly what plays are an option and how the plays should go at every at-bat. His head is always in the game. He would be an incredible asset to any team. Best of all, he's got more experience than most people will ever get in their lifetime at playing the game. He has a lot to offer.
But it seems he has been cast off. Why? Because he's "OLD". Because the current generation thinks brawn is better than brains. In actuality, brains can actually extend brawn because if you play smart, you can play longer because you expend less. Just look at my hubby! Still kickin' it up with the young guys and to be honest, showin' the young guys up. As my husband would say, "it's their loss", but I feel terrible for him.
Too often I see this same attitude in churches. The old has been cast off to embrace the new. The gray headed saints who have weathered life and not only survived but thrived in life are relegated to the pew on Sunday mornings. Instead of flocking to their sides to gain wisdom, younger people look on them with a generational arrogance that is surely to produce "a fall" for them. The older generation, who have so much wisdom and knowledge to offer sit tolerated but not treasured in most churches. Perhaps that is why they are often thought of as "troublemakers". What else has anyone given them to do?
Scripture tells us that old age is a sign of righteousness and the blessing of the Lord. It is often fruit of God's favor.
“Follow the whole instruction the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live, prosper, and have a long life in the land you will possess” (Deuteronomy 5:33).
If we would just listen to what the older generation has done and know and experienced of God, we could be so much further ahead in the Lord than we are. They have a lifetime of learning the ways and the heart of God. By virtue of years in the Lord, they know the Lord in ways we only dream of. I know, as a Pastor's wife, I would love to have an older, experienced Pastor's wife or just a wife to learn from.
Old age may be a reward to those who have obeyed scripture through the years. The promise of scripture is that the righteous will live long and full lives.
“Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right. Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life in the land” (Ephesians 6:1).
- “If you walk in My ways and keep My statutes and commandments just as your father David did, I will give you a long life” (1 Kings 3:14).“Gray hair is a glorious crown; it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31).
Yes, older folks are our greatest resource. Righteousness produces wisdom. Doesn't everyone want and need wisdom? It is evidence of a life that has been dependent on God and the recipient of the faithfulness of God.
“Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding… She is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor” (Proverbs 3:13, 15-16).
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by Wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life” (Proverbs 9:10-11)
Older people have a duty to the younger. To pass along wisdom.
“Hear this, you elders; listen, all you inhabitants of the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors? Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation” (Joel 1:2-3).
“Remember the days of old; consider the years long past. Ask your father, and he will tell you, your elders, and they will teach you” (Deuteronomy 32:7).
“In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. [They are] to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, pure, good homemakers, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered” (Titus 2:3-5).
By ignoring older people we are not allowing them to fulfill their purpose in the stage of life that they are in. And perhaps if it is the Biblical duty of the older to pass along to the younger, it is also the duty of the younger to respect and listen to the older generation.
But perhaps, by thinking that the older generation has nothing to offer us because we have "progressed" beyond them, we are not helping ourselves but hurting ourselves instead. Bruce Barton said " All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward" . By choosing to ignore what they have to say, by belittling their experiences with the "higher wisdom" of our own, we may be pointing ourselves in the wrong direction and will waste valuable time finding our way back. How that will sting in our memories when we are in their same position in life. (And yes, we will all be in their position someday, if we, like them live a long life.) By throwing away their wisdom we are establishing our own tradition-a tradition to not have any tradition- and that would be very hurtful.
We must be careful not to throw wisdom away to make room for "progress". Progress has yet to prove itself. It has yet to be tried in the fires of experience. We must be careful and value what we already have. and we can start by respecting AND valuing the older folks God has placed in out Body.