BLOG 8/17/18. “THE GENERATIONS RISE AND PASS AWAY”
There are times when the scriptures referring to the brevity of our earthly sojourn come very close to home. There is the text which says: “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty … and we soon pass away.” … Then, that is followed by the petition that we are to “so number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” The implication is unmistakable that somehow our legacy to the next generation is to be ‘wisdom’ with whatever such wisdom constitutes.
We need to ask ourselves, then, what our own personal legacy of wisdom constitutes? What kind of a model of wisdom are we to be demonstrating for those who follow us in the next generation? That has become a very poignant question to me this week. Earlier this week my older brother died, which means that I am now the only remaining member of my Henderson generation.
There were three of us Henderson boys, and I was the youngest. We grew up in the difficult days of the great depression and World War II. But the three of us had two gentle, very caring, very principled and very wise parents who modelled wisdom before us every day. Our family culture was disciplined and that principle of wisdom was always before us in our parents. It was never articulated as such, but in these twilight days as my generation passes away I reflect on it with great appreciation.
My oldest brother became an educator and left behind him the legacy of Florida’s community college system of 39 community colleges. He was also a wisdom figure in both his church community and in the progressive social influences of the region. My other brother, who died this week, was of a very scientific bent and left behind him the legacy of environmental stewardship, becoming the chief environmental officer for a major oil company. Yet he also reflected the heritage of wisdom we had inherited from our own parents in with his family and in the church community.
I am, therefore, reflecting on how I am to be numbering my days that I may apply my heart unto wisdom (Psalm 90:12). I can only be conscious that such is a part of my New Creation calling and that I am to, somehow, model wisdom for the emerging generation. How do I model wisdom to the next generation? I am keenly aware that somehow the next generation doesn’t need empty moralisms, but rather needs a model of integrity, of vibrant discipleship, and of whatever wisdom encompasses. I can pray: “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all who are to come” (Psalm 70:18).
To be sure, “The generations rise and pass away … so teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Yes, and that in the beautiful context of our calling to be the people of God’s New Humanity, what with our great hope endowed to us by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Such is a high and holy calling. God create me and us to be models of such wisdom.