Age Matters

Today I was reading through some passages in the Old Testament. I was captivated by a passage in Numbers.Number 8:23-26 to be exact. It was a very interesting passage about the age of retirement for the men who carried, prepared and served the Temple. While I am not one to let age define much about what we can and cannot do, God himself has something to say in that arena! However, I think there is a much larger significance to this passage and what God was trying to say outside of age.

God said to Moses that starting at 25 the men should serve the Temple. But, at the age of 50 they must step back from that role. What I like is that God does not say they should have no role. As a matter of fact, I believe that God gives the older men a greater role. He calls the older men to serve as guards for the Temple, and even more as ministers by guarding the young men doing the work of the Temple. God says they shall not serve in the Temple, but to guard the ministry of and in the Temple. I LOVE that!

Here’s what I see….God is empowering the upcoming generations. He is giving men a time to do the work of the Temple, then allowing the upcoming generation to carry on. But, God keeps the older men, the previous generation in place to protect the work of the emerging generation of leaders. This is something I think the church has neglected.

It is important for young leaders to have older men and the previous generation of leaders to guard them and minister to them. But, it is important for the previous generation to step back and let the emerging generation lead as God has called them. Without that changing of the guard, the church ages to a place where it carries little or no relevance for the next generation. The reality we often miss is that the next generation is always emerging!

As a young leader I am grateful for the men who have surrounded me and guarded me. It is the love and care of the older men in my life that has enable me to pastor these last few years. It is also important that I prepare myself for that changing of the guard in the years to come. One day it will be my turn to be the guard and minister to the next generation of leaders. I'm not stuck on the numbers, but on the concept. If we aren't prepared and ready for this change, we will likely miss out on what God has i store for our lives and the people around us!