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With age, wisdom....Pastor's Pen for 22nd October 2023

My running club, being one of the oldest in Auckland, has some people who have been around for a while. We are not full of sprightly youths but our demographic encompasses the middle to older age groups. So it's a bit like church really, with much silver hair in evidence. But that's ok, as the scripture says; "Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life." (Prov 16:31) Optimistically, we hope that with age comes wisdom.

So the other night we had one of our quirky local bush races. One of our guys who is close to 80 volunteered to do the timing and recording for the race, as he often does. Another guy who is over 80 insisted on competing in the race, as he always does, and then needed rescuing after falling in the slippery, shadowy bush and had a whole lot of people running round after him in the dusk light to ensure his welfare - but not one word of thanks followed. Which older person exercised wisdom that night?

Job in his distress, asks this of his interlocutors; "Is not wisdom found among the aged?

Does not long life bring understanding?" (Job 12:12) My answer to this is; "not necessarily" based on my observations of people in all areas of life.

As my own hair is now silver and I consider what might be the final quarter of my official working life, I pray that I might demonstrate wisdom, humility and grace in increasing measure. This is never guaranteed, but I pray that it might be so. It might look like passing on running tips instead of winning my age group. It might look like encouraging and marshaling instead of racing. It might look like working behind the scenes and mentoring a younger minister rather than preaching every Sunday. It might look like giving away things in my library rather than hoarding resources. What might it look like for you?

The more I learn, the more I realise I don't know it all. Job continued; "To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his." (Job 12:13) The best we can do is keep bringing our shortcomings, ill-advised outbursts, fears and sins to this God who is the source of all wisdom and understanding.

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