Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "We're Marching To Zion"1 (Lyrics)
Job 12:12 – Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old. (NLT)
The older I get, the more that I realize that I have a unique role to play in life. I spent many years in active service to our Lord. I am now at a different point in my faith journey where I have just as much to share, but often with a different emphasis. I have as much enthusiasm as ever — the word enthusiasm comes from Greek, meaning "in God"! I've experienced that same enthusiasm through many of my mentors in years past, mentors who have reached an old age, yet still have a passion for this life and what they can contribute.
I met Bishop Lesslie Newbigin in Salvador, Bahai, Brazil, at a conference on world mission. The program was pretty rigid, but the bishop was anything but. As delegates boarded buses to attend a megachurch in the city, Bishop Newbigin gathered up a group of us and said, "Come with me!" In a rickety old truck, we climbed the mountain that surrounded the city and came to a place called Fazante Grande and a little Presbyterian church in the slums. What a day we had! It was made all the better because of the bishop's presence. At the time, he was a month away from his 87th birthday and was full of enthusiasm for the church and its mission. Age was no deterrent to his zeal!
Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa in 1994 at the age of 77, and he believed that age was only an asset in accomplishing great things in life. I met him in 1998 in Harare, and my first glimpse of him was of him dancing down an aisle greeting people the whole time! On his 89th birthday, July 18th, 2007, Mandela announced the formation of The Elders, a small, dedicated group of leaders who were to work objectively, both publicly and behind the scenes, free from any vested personal interest, to help address global challenges. Among those elders, made up from all walks of life, were Jimmy Carter, Helen Johnson Sirleaf, and Ban Ki-moon.
Today, don't we need those who have grown old and wise, who can encourage and inspire! We are surrounded by a great community of such people, and just maybe, I've reached that stage in life. We would love to share wisdom and experience with the generations following, offering counsel and direction. What might you who are a bit younger learn from befriending those who have lived long and well? Maybe today is the day when we should all find out!
Job 12:13 – But true wisdom and power are found in God; counsel and understanding are his. (NLT)
- O my Father, Great Elder,
I have no words to thank You,
But with Your deep wisdom
I am sure that You can see
How I value Your glorious gifts.
O my Father, when I look upon Your greatness,
I am confounded with awe.
O Great Elder,
Ruler of all things earthly and heavenly,
I am Your warrior,
Ready to act in accordance with Your will.
– Kikuyu language, Kenya (from An African Prayer Book by Desmond Tutu)