In one of my men’s group, we’re going through the 33 The Series discussing authentic manhood, challenging all men to become the social and spiritual leaders God created us to be. The challenge is to instill in men the call to become producers with our God-given talents, not merely consumers. Our calling includes our God-given mandate to engage us to “create and cultivate,” by getting us back into the game of life and not to become cynical “cowards and critics” sitting on the sidelines.
We started attending a new church recently. They announced a first-ever meeting of the elder “gray heads” for men who were 65 and older. The meeting was set up for the express purpose of tapping into our years of knowledge and hopefully, the cream of our exerience, our wisdom, would rise to the top. We’re taught in Eph 6:11 to “put on the full armor of God.” Since God “created man in His own image,” that means men of all ages need to “man up” and “gear up” and “show up” and “team up” with other men for the fight for what’s good and right. The views expressed by these church elders are not unfamiliar with or unseen at other churches or BAM (Business As Mission) meetings I have attended in the past few years. This was the gist of their comments.
Younger married couples and individuals in that age bracket act and are disconnected.
That means we have failed to connect the younger generations with the wisdom of the older generations. The church seems to have unintentionally and demographically “sliced and diced” the church family, which appears to have created unintended consequences within the church. Small groups have created a “divide and conquer” disconnection from all of the various generations, and God certainly did not design it to be that way.
While these younger ones have “left the nest” and been on their own now for years, including having kids of their own, they’re getting smarter, but not necessarily wiser. According to a report by AARP, they’re the sandwich generation, aging parents or in-laws and children still living with them. They’re squeezed on both sides by the generation before and after them. Reading this, I’m reminded of the verses written by Ezra (Ezra 3:12-13). The older generations were crying, remembering the Temple before their exile, the younger generations joyful for the rebuilding of the Temple. There’s a saying that describes the prosperity cycles of a society and nation. “Bad times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create bad times.”
But there are glimpses of getting back to God’s “tried and true” wisdom with the various generations living together in nearby and interacting with each other. You are beginning to see it with the idea of locating Preschools with Assisted Living or Nursing Homes. Children get the attention they need with simple things that the older generations have and can provide plenty of knowledge and wisdom to pass along. When the older generation spends time with the younger generations, they tap into their youthful energy as well as having a heartfelt need met that their life still has meaning to someone and to their future. Connecting the youngest and oldest generations means we’re reconnecting with all of society, and this fights ageism and our generational disconnectedness.
But this disconnectedness encompasses more than grandparents and grandchildren and families in the church, there’s disconnection with work, but especially a tsunami disconnection coming concerning money. We’re just starting the “Great Transfer” of wealth from the Greatest Generation to the baby boomers. “The great transfer will see a handover of about $12 trillion from those born in the 1920s and 30s to the boomers. But the boomers are expected to transfer some $30 trillion in assets to their heirs over the next 30-40 years in just the U.S.” I think we need to muster the “gray heads.”
Houston, we have a problem.
Just as 80% Of Retired NFL Players Go Broke soon after leaving the league and lottery winners declare bankruptcy within three to five years after winning, then this “Great Transfer” of wealth will have the same effect unless the “gray heads” in the church begin to teach their wisdom into the younger generations. I attended the Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC.org) recently and will write about what I saw in a future article, while I was encouraged about Christian character building, there is still much work to do about commerce and cash.
In James 1:5, the word “ask” in Greek is present, imperative, meaning we’re commanded to ask God for wisdom continually. We should ask for wisdom every day in preparation for doing God’s work, but taking actions with God’s wisdom with our families and friends translates directly into our marketplace mission.
Since there are no words for retirement in Hebrew in the Old Testament, we “gray heads” need to stop retiring and consider inspiring our future generations through our collective wisdom concerning work and finance. When we “gray heads” stand before God, how will we answer His call, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few,” (Matt 9:37), will we explain “because we went golfing”? Or will we receive our “full reward” for our efforts?
2 John 1:8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.