Points to Ponder: Wisdom is Never Obsolete
Points to Ponder
Wisdom is Never Obsolete
Our daughter's elementary school offered a few mornings during one week when parents or grandparents could sit in on their child's class. Those who came were asked to bring an old, obsolete item, which they could share (like show and tell) with the children. One woman told of being raised on a farm, demonstrating with an old set of sheep shearers how, when she was a child, she would gather wool to sell to make a few dollars. Another grandmother brought in a chamber pot. When she told, in a discreet way, what it was for, the kids responded with a chorus of "ew!"
I brought in a record player, with a few 45 rpm records. I remembered buying these records not that long ago in ancient history. What a funny thing it was to own relics and to remember when they were new. In fact, they were the "hits" of their day, playing on the radio in my car (which if I had it today would be eligible for the "historic" license plates).
I remember being in my teens and twenties, thinking that one day all of what I owned and was surrounded by would become ancient, maybe even turn up in antique shops. I remember walking through some of these shops recently and seeing toys I once played with. That probably won't happen with this generation; the toys aren't built to last that long.
When I held up the 45 rpm record before the class of third graders, I asked if they knew how the record player played the music on the record. One guessed it had something to do with the hole in the middle. Most admitted they didn't know that the needle on the record player arm ran through the record's grooves and picked up the tune from there.
Each succeeding generation experiences this. We advance from one technology to a more advanced level (which has much of its basis in what made the former work), but we don't know how the old thing worked. For instance, can you walk away from your computerized, fully-loaded automobile with automatic and power this-and-that and step into a Model A Ford and start it up? Most of us would look into the bare-bones cockpit of one of those old classics and would have no idea how to drive it.
Go back farther. Can you ride a horse, or drive a horse-drawn carriage? Some of us who grew up on television westerns think we could. But have you tried it? A lot of us would need lessons to learn how to handle a mode of transportation which was basic, common knowledge to folks a century or so ago.
So what's the point in all of this? Both the teachers and students enjoyed the record player. I played Ray Stevens' "Mississippi Squirrel Revival". (Even the unchurched get a kick out of that one). I thought about that old song, played on an old record player. It did not take very long for this and other things to become "old," outdated, and replaced by something newer. Life does go on, with or without us.
Scripture says "There's nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). History does tend to repeat itself. We just don't realize it because we failed to remember the first time we experienced something or we failed to listen and appreciate the lesson from those who learned from the past and are still here to teach us.
Then there are those of us who have gained some wisdom in our years, but we fail to share it. There is a generation among the young who arrogantly go on as if they know it all. Some are simply unteachable hard heads; falling on their faces is perhaps the best head softener for such as these.
But then there are among the older ones those who disengage themselves by saying that they "paid their dues." Somehow they think they deserve to resign, retire, and pamper themselves; to get new batteries for the remote and watch TV til they die. The Bible records the tragedy that can occur when the old just go on and get old, and die without training the next generation.
After Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land and settled the twelve tribes, he and his contemporaries either failed to teach, or the younger ones failed to learn - or both.
"When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel." (Judges 2:10).
This led the next generation to follow their own untrained wisdom. For almost 400 years Israel experienced oppression from their enemies, destruction, and death. " . . . everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25b). Doesn't that sound familiar now?
The years pass quickly. The new soon becomes old. But the wisdom which must be taught by the one and learned by the other transcends time. Life goes on. You must learn and then you must teach. And the fruit of what you did or did not do will remain. As you pass through this life, what are you learning? And as you master your discoveries, what are you leaving? Jesus said:
"For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:48b)
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com