Monday, August 30, 2021

I Am An Alligator – Not A Dinosaur

“Wisdom is with aged men, And with length of days, understanding. With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding.” – Job 12:12-13

I am an observer of people (not nosey – just observant) – I pay attention to what they do – what they say – how they treat others. Not in a judgmental way, but as a neutral observer. Eventually my observations find their way to personal application and maybe even as a topic in my BLOG.  I once (or maybe more than once) commented that I have 2 boxes in my brain.  In one box goes all of the good that I have seen and experienced and in the other box, yeah that’s right – all of the not so good – or said another way, the bad.  I make it a point to never reach into the second box – the bad box, in my quest to find an answer for how I will respond to others or treat others.  

I have to admit that I have not always been successful in my personal compliance with my approach to life, but I do think I am getting better. I see dust gathering on the lid of the second box which is a good sign that it has largely fallen into disuse. So what does this have to do with alligators and dinosaurs?  Well ……

An observation ….. Alligators have been around for a long time. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service describes them as “A member of the crocodile family, the American alligator is a living fossil from the Age of Reptiles, having survived on earth for 200 million years.”  They are living – active creatures – Still, after 200 million years (plus or minus) part of nature’s food chain. Dinosaurs, if you believe that Jurassic Park was just a movie, are nothing more than (dead) fossils.  Their time has passed – living in nothing more than a fantasy in someone’s mind, or as a fossilized curiosity in a museum or a find in a farmer’s field or in some archeological dig. 

So where is the spiritual context? As most of you reading this will know, my “age-ometer” just rolled over to 71. That means I have been in the over 55 age group for 16 years. That said, I have become sensitive to, hopefully not obsessed with, my place in the Body of Christ. It seems to me that most churches have adopted a cultural view of aging.  Once a Christian reaches a certain age – they are no longer part of the “spiritual food chain” but become fossilized to be put on a shelf with the other fossils leaving the “real” ministry and work of the church to be left to the younger – living Christians.  The thing is – I am having a difficult time finding support for that thinking and doing in the Bible. In fact – it is quite the opposite. In our natural culture the thinking that , “young is good and old is not so good” is prevalent.  In fact there are many older people struggling to not look older – because, I think, they don’t want to be set aside. They want to be relevant. Well what does the Bible have to say about the aging of our physical nature in contrast to our spiritual nature?

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

It says that we should not focus on the fact that the outward man that is perishing, but the inward – spiritual man that is being renewed day by day.  The inward man is maturing and will become mature on that day when they meet Jesus face to face.  Why would such a person be set on a shelf?  Why would they not be cherished and sought out for their wisdom and understanding?  It is like Christians have decided that each adult generation must figure it out on their own. Once you can be categorized as a senior – all you are good for is getting together with other seniors – boarding a bus and going to Branson, Missouri – or some other destination.  It is a gross waste of spiritual resources!

The thing is – many “seniors” have bought into that thinking and are content with “finding their seat on the bus or the next seniors’ lunch”.  This would be a difficult thing to undo because so many people are content with the way things are. Not me apparently – the proof is that I am writing this devotional to challenge you and I will not get on the bus!

This is our admonishment in Hebrews. We should not be content with merely going along for the ride!

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”  – Hebrews 5:12-14

We will not hear, “Well done, My good and faithful servant” until we get to heaven.  There is no spiritual retirement plan while we still have breath on this planet. We should be teaching the younger people – younger in the faith – leading them to spiritual maturity and not be sequestered on Sunday morning.

“ …. older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children ..” –  Titus 2:2-4

My encouragement is this. If you are categorized as a “senior”, seek what the Lord would have you do with the spiritual wisdom and gifts He has given you – don’t be content with being patronized and marginalized as a fossilized dinosaur. And if you are not a senior – make it a point to encourage those who are to press on in their faith reminding them that they are still a part of the Body of Christ and have a role to play. Because they are alligators, not dinosaurs after all!

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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