Encourage older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, love, and patient endurance. Titus 2:2 (EHV).
Just the other night, I had a conversation with my uncle. He’s 84 years old and in mixed health. I’ll try to not puff him up too much since he reads this blog, but in my eyes, he’s the kind of man the Apostle Paul was describing in verse 2. He’s temperate (of attitude and disposition), worthy of respect (because he’s worked hard to live an upright, Jesus-led life), he’s self-controlled (which is amazing considering the volcanic temper of his father: another of my heroes), and sound in faith, love and endurance (all of which he has always modeled for those who know him and even those who don’t).
When I get to be 84 (IF I live to be 84), it’s my hope that someone will say those same things about me. But I doubt it. I’m not the man my uncle is, and that’s ok. I’m my own man with my own experiences thanks to the life God has given me to live and the talents with which He’s blessed me. Perhaps in my own way I’ve made a positive impression on other folks. It’s my best hope that, if that has happened, they will turn around and do the same for someone else. That’s how Jesus’ Kingdom grows. It’s a lesson I have learned, in part, from my uncle.
But no matter what someone thinks of him, me, or anyone else, Paul’s standard is still solid gold. We want our older men to be men we can look up to. Both in the church and out of it, we want grandfathers and mentors who we can model, copy and honor. It’s especially true in the church, where elders are supposed to be worthy of respect and the kind of people we want to be. Especially the elder men. But it matters in all walks of life. Just ask my son, who has been taken under the mentoring wing of a rough cowboy boss who’s teaching him valuable work and life skills. It’s a pleasure to see.
Perhaps that “patient” quality is the one that makes the most impression. Patience is the culmination of those other five attitudes. It’s the demeanor and behavior that both identifies experience and implements reason. I think of the best leaders I’ve ever known, especially in churches, and, to a man, they’ve all been patient. There’s a time and place for quick action, even impetuous action. But in most things, patience is preferred. Work well and work deliberately, then let’s let things unwind as they will; as God wills them.
I’m thinking both my uncle and my son’s mentor would agree. And it would make Jesus happy.
For further reading: 1 Timothy 5:1, Titus 2:2
Lord Jesus, thank You for living out here through good men. Help me to better model their behavior because I’m modeling You when I do that.