September 09, 2012

Young and Old

Proverbs 4:1-19

I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me … “Take hold of my words….”
—Proverbs 4:3-4


One of Norman Rockwell’s famous paintings, Saying Grace, depicts an old woman and her grandson bowing their heads before eating in a cramped working-class restaurant. Outside the window, steam engines can be seen in a rail yard. At the other side of their little table, two hard-bitten young truck drivers look on awkwardly, cigarettes dangling from their lips. It’s an interesting picture of the interaction between generations and subcultures.

In some churches older believers use their positions of influence to speak negatively about youthful music. In other churches, younger believers are deliberately courted to the exclusion of elderly tastes. Both concepts of the church are shortsighted and leave their members poverty stricken. By driving a wedge between young and old, they seem to ignore the Scripture that says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Today, it seems, we add a comment, as if to say, “But it’s OK if young and old are not one in Christ.”

The biblical vision is that young and old live together in harmony and mutual respect—the old imparting the wisdom they have gained through years of experience, and the young encouraging the old and embracing new kingdom adventures with exuberance and strength.

Lord, give us wisdom and love for old and young, and everyone in between. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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