Far from being about bearded old guys, the true definition has more to do with progress down a path.

I think all of us are taught to respect our elders.  It’s a lesson based in logic.  Our elders have life experience and wisdom that we haven’t acquired yet.  But an elder doesn’t necessarily mean someone who is older.  Think about it for a minute.  Does a 22 year-old have more wisdom about social media than I do at 52?  No doubt about it.  Does a 16 year old have more knowledge than a 6 year old about math?  Of course.  In the same way, a person in their 70’s knows more about weathering life’s storms than a 20 year old does.  When it comes down to it an elder is just someone that is farther along a pathway than another.  It’s the same in our faith.

A long time ago the apostle Peter wrote to churches that were experiencing persecution about what it meant to be an elder.  He refers to shepherding, caring for and leading others by example.  It says to do all this not for recognition but to serve the Lord.  The promise is glory in the end and honor before God.    With the way Peter describes an elder, couldn’t we all be elders within the church and outside of the church?  Irrespective of our age can’t we all be leaders for God in our community, our job and in our families?  This takes strength with humility, diligent watchfulness and compassion for your fellow man.  But again, the reward is great.

The scripture says this won’t be easy.  We’re going to have difficulty but Peter advises us to give these problems to our Father.  Peter would have known something about going through tough times what with his moniker being “The Rock” (way before Dwayne Johnson).  In the end we’re going to be a little banged up but who better to repair us than the Lord.  His kindness and mercy will “…restore, support and strengthen…” like only He can.  Our charge, our challenge is to always carry on humbly giving our troubles and our difficulties to God as we go.  He will make us the spiritual caretakers we are intended to be regardless of how far down the path we have traveled.

I would encourage you to aspire to be an elder in whatever circle you happen to find yourself and in any way you can.  I think life is easier when we approach it together and that means looking to others for their guidance.  Please pass this along to someone you know that might need your assistance in whatever way.

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