To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”[a]
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Mentoring and Being Mentored
A person ideally needs to find people older than themselves from whom to learn. They need, then, to pass on that knowledge to the next generation. In so doing the information they are gathering needs to be passed on and they become a conduit. They must learn because they have responsibility. They must be mentored because they are mentoring.
Fathers don’t mentor their children as often as they might. This often leads to children growing up without feeling protected and secure. It means they don’t have an experiential knowledge of placing themselves under the leadership of an older man. Ideally, older men and women earn respect because of their experience. They follow God closely and because they are older, they have seen more of Satan’s tricks and appreciate more how God leads people. They can then pass on that experience to the younger generation so they grow in godly wisdom. However, many youngsters these days are prone to see older people as irrelevant or out of touch. It is more important to youth to operate the newest piece of technology and stay connected with friends their own age than to connect with those who know better. The Bible points out in this passage that the admission of a youth that they don’t know everything comes from humility. What is humility? Humility is seeing oneself as one truly is. We are miniscule with respect to God, but we are loved by God in a way that gives us all value. Someone who has a true assessment of their own limitations can seek understanding from someone less limited. Someone who thinks their only weakness is kryptonite is actually unteachable. The pride of youth prevents growth.
When older people see this, they can think that investing in the next generation is a waste of time. Why bother when they think they know it all already. One reason to care is that they are going to be managing the nation’s finances and pension funds will be mismanaged by proud people. God’s motivation for older people to be active in pursuing relationships with their juniors is to have a willing heart to do God’s will. The lack of communication between the generations in our churches is not godly. We need more approaches like Tru (http://tru.davidccook.com/AboutTru.aspx) which seeks to connect families intergenerationally. The adults in the church don’t just see their children go through stratified programs and watch the children float away, disconnected, into college.
Father, I thank you for the older men who are correcting me and guiding me toward truth based on their experience of truth. I pray that I would continue to pass on the knowledge that you have given me.
- What should elder people do?
- Why might they object?
- Why might younger members of a church tune out those who are older?
- Who mentors you?
- Who are you mentoring?