In today’s comments I’d like to address chapter 5, verses 1 through 6.
Peter tells the older members to be shepherds to God’s flock from a sincere desire and not for money, and do so by providing a good example, not by lording it over them. And then he tells the younger folks that they should be willing to submit to the older people. He wraps up this section by saying that they should all be very humble with each other.
These versed grabbed my attention because I have been involved in the church since I was a teenager. So I’ve been one of the younger crowd, and I am now one of the older crowd. I’ve been on both sides.
When I was young, there was no doubt that the elders were in charge. Church was pretty much entrenched in the way things were done. But I got saved right around the time that the Jesus Freak movement was born, and a lot of changes began to happen.
Somewhere along the line we have come to a point where the older people in many churches no longer have a voice. If you’re older than 35 or 40, you might as well just find a seat.
Well, having been a young person right there when things began to change, and now being one of the elders, at 61 years of age, I have the benefit of perspective that the younger folks don’t have. It’s something that is impossible for young people to have. They can’t.
Last August I attempted to hike to the top of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the continental U.S. I came up short, but that’s another story. What I want to talk about now is that the view from the trailhead…the beginning of the trail that led to the top…was extremely limited. Being in the forest, it was beautiful, but the trees limited the view. You couldn’t see very far at all.
But after being on the trial for a couple of hours, you gained some altitude and there were places where you could look out over the beautiful Owens Valley. You could see for miles.
After having been on the trail for several hours, you were above tree line. There was nothing to block your view and you could see even further because you were so much higher.
That’s how it is with elders versus youngsters. The young people think that they know it all, but they’re really just starting out on the trail. They don’t know that there is so much more, because they’ve never seen it.
There is a reason that Peter calls the elders to shepherd the flock. They’re further and higher on the trail. It’s not because they’re better, they’ve just got the benefit of perspective. The younger folks should humbly accept that with age comes perspective, and hopefully wisdom.
What do you think?