Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.
Genesis 5:23-24 NLT
In this part of the world, there’s a tradition that baffles me, mostly because I do not see the logical or Scriptural sense in it. The passage of time offers nothing of itself except the effort that you put in to acquire wisdom that works, as well as the deliberate implementation of this wisdom in your life.
But somehow, over here, there seems to be a general disposition that older people are always right, and if a person is handed a position of authority today, their flaws somehow disappear as others lose the right to point out the gaps in their words and actions (even to the detriment of the people that they lead).
While it is important to note that respect for authority (the office), and honour for elders and forerunners are integral points of character, we need to be careful to open the portals for constructive feedback, collaborative wor, and the reminder that we are first of all called to serve. To state it unequivocally,
Old age does not make you right
Authority/office does not make you right
These two things/attributes do not absolve you of the responsibility to be a decent human who respects other people, their experiences, journeys and giftings, and they do not relieve you of the need to do right by others. Your actions are what put you in the right/wrong of a decision/action; and regardless of your age, position or other people’s perception, it is possible to walk so closely with God that (the work that He does) He shines through you to help you make better decisions, grow character and competence, as well as keep you in check.
That process is underguarded by your relationship with the Holy Spirit, does not take your humanity or failings away and is not subject to socio-cultural expectations of who should be right/wrong in certain situations or contexts.
For further thought and consideration, Enoch’s father Jared and his grandfather Mahalaleel were alive in the same period when Enoch walked with God so closely that God took him. Noah’s father Lamech was still alive when the mandate to build the ark came, yet none of God’s instructions to Noah referenced him in the redemption plan that saved the sons of Noah.
So before you shut others down because of age or position (or shut yourself down), ask yourself again: who is your validator on right/wrong? Man? Your ego? God?
Similar resources: Not too… audio Bible study series