Practical Proverbial, from 1 Timothy, 21 January 2019

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.  1 Timothy 5:17 (NIV).

Respect your elders:   we’ve all learned this maxim.   It’s Biblically based; this you can see for yourself.   Yet it’s probably the best common sense advice we could learn apart from “Love the Lord your God.”

I’m in my early fifties now, so the realization that I have probably lived most of my life has finally hit my radar.   Statistically speaking, I won’t be here fifty-two years from now.   That realization is making me take stock of what older people have to offer.  Not long ago I read that, when an old person dies, a library of priceless information dies with them; I believe I may have shared that not long ago.

Previously shared or not, it’s true.   Just in life experiences, our world’s most valuable resource may just be those who have lived in it for a long time.  Doesn’t it make sense, then, that we should respect them?   Sure, there are may older folks who say and do things that aren’t worthy of respect; see “US government.”   Yet the vast majority of older people have lived honorable lives, learned valuable lessons, seen and done things that the younger generations would be wise to learn while they still have these rugged senior citizens available.

Consider this:   most churches are staffed by folks who have been around the block.   The church councils, session boards, or committees are, in most cases, staffed by people with experience.   More often than not, those people are senior citizens, mainly because they have the time and commitment to serve.   Those are things many younger families usually don’t have in abundance.   This is also true for election workers, members of the VFW and American Legion, the Ladies’ Auxilliary, the Rotary and Lions and Kiwanis and Knights of Columbus organizations.

If the (largely) elder people who staff these civic organizations that keep our communities running do so successfully, shouldn’t that mean that we should give them the respect they are due?   That’s what Paul is saying.   The people who step up to keep the church running by performing vital organization tasks are worthy of double respect, double honor.  The people who work to keep civic organizations operating are worthy of respect, honor, and deference.   Your grandparents, the old guy who won’t get out of the left lane, that woman with a walker:   God asks us to respect them because gray hair is a crown of glory.

In a world focused on worshipping the ideas and actions of the young (especially in pop culture and politics), it’s good to remember Paul’s reminder that young people don’t grow older without usually becoming wiser.

For further reading: Proverbs 16:31, 1 Timothy 5:18.

Lord Jesus, thank You for older people, for people who have lived to become wiser.   Show me ways today that I can honor them and their knowledge and experience.

 

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Practical Proverbial, from 2 Thessalonians, 10 August 2018

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (NIV).

Why should we hold onto teachings of a bunch of old, dead, white guys?

That’s a refrain you hear a lot in our popular culture these days.   Mostly it concerns the US Constitution, written over 200 years ago by (now) old, dead, white guys; as if being old or Caucasian alone would either qualify or disqualify someone as reputable.  It’s a stupid argument, really, that we should ignore something because the authors aren’t alive anymore or because they were of a certain race.   It’s foolish.

Yet that same argument is used to justify ignoring the teachings of the Bible.   After all, they’re much older than the Constitution.   And the men who wrote them were men (sexism!) and if not white they were at least Mediterranean and Semitic in nature (racists!).   The purveyors of foolishness would have people believe that being male, white, Semitic, or aged should disqualify things they say.   Perhaps that would qualify much of Hollywood and the leaders of popular culture as well…but I digress.

Instead, here’s a chance to ignore all of what those around us would say and stand up for Jesus.  There’s an old hymn that says just that:   stand up, stand up for Jesus.   Stand up today.  Stand up for what you believe instead of being talked down by the vapid arguments of people with other agendas.   More importantly than standing up, though, stand firm.  Be firm and resolute in saying “I believe.”  Every day is a new opportunity to be your own Martin Luther and say “here I stand” by basing your stand in your belief in Christ.

That isn’t easy, especially when the small minds of popular culture have a loud voice.   When academia, media, and even corporate culture are standing against you.   When it’s easier to give in.   When so many evangelicals make standing up for Jesus a difficult, unpopular, and corny thing.  Our world is hostile to this faith; 2 Thessalonians spends much of its verbiage talking about how faith will be challenged at the end of all things.   Of how the world will do what it’s doing to believers, many of whom overseas are being physically martyred for standing up for Jesus.

Stand anyway.

Stand firm in knowing that who you’re standing for, what you believe, and the Savior who makes it possible is standing beside you.   He is with you in Spirit and inside you.   The strength to stand is the strength of God’s Spirit coursing through your veins.  You may be basing your faith on the words of old, dead, white guys, yet those words are given from God Almighty Himself:  He who has no age, eternal life, no race, and is never foolish.

For further reading:  1 Corinthians 16:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:16.

Lord, I stand for You, for Your love, Your peace, Your strength, Your kingdom.