SOME LESSONS OLD MEN LEARN

There comes a time in the life of a person when he must concede that he is getting old. While old is not the most desirable state, it beats the alternative by a mile. In fact there are some benefits that come with advanced age. Most people have learned many valuable lessons in their lifetime and have profited thereby. The same should be true of those who preach:

* In old age, you finally recognize and admit your limitations. You can’t do everything, you cannot master every aspect of knowledge. You will not always hit a home run when you preach.

* You learn and accept that there are others who are smarter and more gifted than you. Some of them are young!

* You are more patient with the young, the immature and the ignorant.

* You are much more selective in choosing your battles. If one must do battle for the Cause of Christ, he should choose an issue worthy of the occasion.

* You learn that the church that Christ built has both a divine and a human dimension. That human aspect will never be perfect. This you must accept if you are going to serve and survive as a preacher for a congregation.

* You do not waste your time quarreling over insignificant things. Huge amounts of time, energy and resources can be consumed on conflicts about as important as the Lilliputian’ s battle over which end of the egg is best for breaking.

* You do not provide a forum to every penny-wit that wishes to challenge you. Left unnoticed, many of the church’s agitators soon vanish in the sun. Given a platform they flourish like a weed.

* You do not stop to defend yourself against the charges of small minded people who have nothing better to do than to criticize those who are doing something.

* You have learned that, generally speaking, it is better to stay and build up a flourishing church than to move frequently in hope of finding one.

* You have learned that it is impossible to please all the people all of the time. So you remind yourself that your first duty is to please God. Do that, act responsibly, be cordial towards all and accept the fact that still some will take exception to your labors.

* You have learned that exciting fads come and go in the church as in the world. Thus you are slow to embrace every new faddish approach that comes along. By the time you have given serious thought to it, it may well have run its course and been replaced by another fad.

* You come to appreciate the history of the church and the lives and labors of those who went before you. You now realize that if it had not been for them you may not have even known the gospel, or at least would have had a much more difficult field to plow.

* You have learned to appreciate the wisdom of older folks, especially those who are elders of the church. You marvel how much elders have improved since your earlier years.

* You come to treasure the value of friendship and brotherhood with fellow-Christians and especially faithful gospel preachers.

* You come to appreciate how much wisdom those old-time preachers had and enjoy going back and re-reading their biographies and sermons.

* You learn that a small congregation may have more to offer you than a large one. Among those blessing might be appreciation, genuine friendship, fellowship and loyalty

* Having devoted your life to building up the kingdom of Christ you have great resentment when you see a generation of men who have little or no respect for the church and take liberties with her worship and doctrine. They are destroying that which you have labored to build up.

-John Waddey

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