Friday, June 30, 2017

"Don't be a Sorry Old Man"

Ezra 3.12b-13a NASU 

“...the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping of the people...”

Life is filled with disappointments, unfulfilled expectations, and dreams that are never realized. Windows of opportunity are missed and doors to better things are slammed and locked forever. We wish for events that never happen and long for younger times when the road was straight and the future was clear.

Listen to a tired old man and his stories of the way things were, about battles fought and love lost. His glory days with their feats of valor and romantic exploits were probably not as good as he remembers. He’s lying to himself and you. Listen for the sorrow beneath the words of his stories. It’s there. It’s “the sound of weeping.” He’s a has-been whose untrue past will never compare to present reality. Be careful or you’ll end up just like him and “the old men who had seen the first temple.”

Nothing ever compares to the “good old days.” When you were young the world was an unpicked apple. You were without limitations, invincible, invulnerable. You expected to deal with life on your terms. In your older years, you look back to wonder where the days have gone. You left too much fruit on the trees and the season for picking is over. Your limitations are now obvious. You’re frail and tired, neither invincible nor invulnerable. You were forced to accept life on life’s terms. No one is able to “distinguish the sound of the shout of joy from the sound of the weeping.” The sound of your weeping blends in with the noise of humanity. No one listens to sorry old men. If you are one, get over yourself. It’s a new day.

”…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.
The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
2nd Corinthians 5.17 NLT

The glory days are gone. There’s no benefit in dwelling on them.

Don't say, ‘Life was better in the “good old days.” 
What happened?’ Wisdom does not lead us to ask that question.”
Ecclesiastes 7.10 ERV

Use your remaining days for His glory. Your life still counts. Take pride in your gray hair. You’re not done yet.

“The glory of young men is their strength,
And the honor of old men is their gray hair.
Proverbs 20.29 NASU

Dream new dreams for the kingdom of God.

“It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit 
on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your 
old men will dream dreamsyour young men will see visions.”
Joel 2.28 NASU

Zerubbabel’s new temple foundation did not compare to the magnitude and glory of Solomon’s original Temple. That’s why “the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes.” But God was doing a new thing in their day. Their “sound of weeping” was meant to be lost amidst “the sound of the shout of joy.”

Your old man tears are similarly lost. Don’t expect others to weep with you. It would be better for you to invest in the new generation of ideals-driven, joy-filled, hope-empowered young people who need your helping hand, not your sorry lament. Enter into their enthusiasm and...

“Rejoice with those who rejoice...”
Romans 12.15 NET

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