Lately, I have been privileged to work with a number of younger folks who have been considering career changes, job promotions and a host of other interesting opportunities that I also had many years ago as I was coming up through the ranks. Back in the day, I didn’t have much time to work with others, but it seems like the older I get, the more I am concerned with pouring my life into others – after all, they are the generation coming up and someday they will be running the economy of the country and even the world.
Friends of mine have a similar inclination. Of of my friends, Dave, spends part of his life helping people who joined the same fraternity that he was a part of back when he attended Butler a number of years ago. Not only is he helping others, but he gets a thrill as well – imparting his wisdom and years of experience helping others to avoid some of the pitfalls that most people of our generation have made.
In the faith community, it is called discipling. It is the idea of more mature people in the faith reaching out and mentoring others who haven’t followed Christ for as many years. Even back in the early days before the beginning of the church, the Jewish young men, such as Saul of Tarsus, tried to adopt teachers who would help train them in the ways of the clergy of those days. Of course, this was before there were formal schools and teaching was done on a very personal basis.
This is the same methodology that was used to train apprentices in the various labor trades. Fathers taught their sons the same skills that they themselves possessed. And generation of after generation followed in the same footsteps as the original founder of the small family businesses.
Biblically speaking, the priests would work from the time that they were 30 years old until they turned fifty. At that time, they would step down from their priestly duties but there is no real mention of retirement in the Scripture. So it is more likely that these older rabbis devoted their time passing on their vast knowledge to the younger boys who would eventually begin their ministries upon attaining the age of thirty.
The verse for this evening is from Paul and his revelation about his teacher, one of the best known and most respected men of the era. Dr. Luke tells us about Paul in Acts 22:3, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.” My encouragement is that there will always be someone you can learn more from – regardless of how old or young you are. My prayer is that as you become more mature in your faith, you will consider pouring your life into others who are members of the following generations. After all, we all benefit when the people of the world become more knowledgeable about the ways of God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…