Journal Prov 4 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction and be attentive that you may gain insight for I give you good precepts—do not forsake my teaching.
When I was a son with my father…tender…the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.”” Prov 4:1-5
Observation: There is something here that I think has been missing for 3 generations now: the vision of elder teaching.
Analysis: I am not referencing the office of Elder, but of one generation bequeathing the Wisdom of God upon the next—a father teaching the son; a grandfather teaching the generations coming.
This is a gap in Christianity: Lack of generational wisdom passed down.
This thought began with the above scripture reference: “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction and BE ATTENTIVE…” and I immediately considered my own children and how I brought them up—it was not to be attentive to my instructions.
Yeah, I pounded on the obedience thing for children; read all the books about raising godly children, and all that. I succeeded and failed because I did not keep up with my own life before God as well as keeping up with theirs. There is some truth to the saying that it takes a village to raise godly children (but only “some”).
I wasn’t attentive to older Christians, because I did not think they had anything to contribute. I was in the Jesus Movement of the 70’s and everything was vibrant and alive–not like the establishment, old wineskins and dead (or barely alive).
I am still enamored with the concept of new wineskins but now (older and hopefully with more wisdom) understand that I (we) stand on the shoulders of the saints that have come before us.
The issue I perceive is not that the younger generation is inattentive (however, just like I was in my teens and twenties, so are they; nothing new under the sun. c. Ecc 1:9), but that the older generations today have nothing to say—ceding the excitement of seeking and finding God to younger folks. My white hot flame from my early years has tamped down to coals; but those coals still run hot.
How is it that older generations retire from being fervent Christian disciples? How is it that younger generations neglect questioning and mining older generations for wisdom?
What to do?
Prayer: Father, I do not want to lose my fire!! Even if I never get approached, never get asked, never have an opportunity to proclaim your Gospel, please keep me searching for You, keep me from being defiant towards you (as is so easy to do—thanks, Adam) and let my worship always be for You.
Ricky Two Shoes