Growing Older and Learning to See (by Len Winneroski)

Unknown“A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.” Proverbs 13:1, NIV

As my wife and I have gotten older, we have had to learn how to work together to see.  For instance, reading a medicine bottle used to be easy.  If you are over forty you can relate to the fact that my wife has to hold the medicine bottles at arms length, while I have to remove my glasses and push the bottle against my nose to determine the proper dosage.   We would rather work together with four failing eyes, than resort to using a magnifying glass!

Why is it that we don’t like to admit that we are getting older?  Should I be embarrassed by the fact that I would be well served to use a magnifying glass?  Why are so many of us willing to spend the extra money to get the no-line bifocals?  Why don’t most of us just buy the cheaper bifocals?  Shouldn’t lines on glasses be a mark of wisdom?

It didn’t take me long to realize that the older I get, the more I appreciate my parents.  You can’t understand sacrificial love until you have experienced it yourself.  My parents both worked very hard to earn a living, provide a good home for my brother and me to live in, and they always gave us the very best from their resources.  For some reason, children often don’t appreciate the most valuable gift that their parents bestow on them, Godly advice.

I am so blessed that I have a reasonable memory for advice (although this too is starting to fade).  Some of the advice that my parents, coaches, teachers, pastors and friends imparted into my life is makes more sense to me the older I get.  If you love someone, you hate to see them suffer needlessly.  God gave us the Bible so that we can learn Truth and avoid making poor decisions that will bring pain and loss into our lives.  I believe that Godly parents usually lecture their children out of love.  Unfortunately, pain and consequences are the most common teachers.

It is interesting that the Bible says that King David was a man after God’s own heart, and that his son Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived.  Is that a great legacy for a family line or what!  Have you ever wondered why Solomon asked God for a discerning heart?  Solomon was young when he became king and was faced with the challenge of governing a nation.  He took his responsibilities seriously (at first), and God was pleased with his request, and gave him a “wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.” (1Kings 3:1-28)

Solomon could have asked God for riches, strength, and power, but his father must have taught him to seek wisdom above all else.  Of course the other side of the coin is that King David and Solomon may have had discerning hearts, but they both forgot to ask God for discipline and self-control.  Great temptation often follows great ability.  Jesus Christ is the only man who has ever mastered a discerning heart and perfect discipline and self-control.

The Bible also teaches that wisdom is best illustrated to others by living wisely.  Talking a good game doesn’t cut the mustard.  It also teaches us that heavenly wisdom is “pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere.” (James 3:13-18)  Aren’t these the very things that Godly parents try to teach their children?  How well do we as parents and grand parents live out this kind of wisdom?

So now back to the bifocals.  I propose a simple way to help us remember to ask God for wisdom, and the power to live out this imparted wisdom.  What if we traded in our progressive lenses for plain old bifocals?  Maybe seeing the line in front of our faces every day would remind us of our weakness, and our high calling as elders to impart Godly wisdom to the younger generation.  What do you think?  It certainly couldn’t hurt.

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