Reading: 1 Kings 12:6-15
Once upon a time a young man decided to leave home and make his fortune in the world. So he bid his mother and father farewell and set off across the land. He came to a foreign country and decided that he would settle there and find work. During this time he rented a room above a little store. In the daytime, he worked at the docks, unloading goods from the ships for a few pennies a day. He made friends with the other workers, young men with dreams like himself. He was a strong young man, and he worked hard, so that by and by he was able to save up some money.
The young man thought to himself, “I have enough money now to buy some land and build a house. Once I have those things, I can perhaps find a wife and start a family.”
Eventually he found just the right piece of land. There was room for a house and barn, plus fields for planting and meadows for grazing the sheep that he imagined he would raise. By now the young man had made himself known at the docks for his diligence, and being put in charge of the other laborers, he was able to earn even more money.
The young man decided that the time had come to build his own house. He had never done this before. But it didn’t seem difficult. He consulted with others at the docks and was told that a certain gentleman in the area was known for having built many houses. The man was hiring laborers; perhaps he would like to be hired on and learn the trade? But two of his good friends told him that they would help him build a house. It was easy, they said – a door, some rooms, some windows, a roof – what could be hard about that?
The young man continued to rent his little room above the store, but after work every day he and his friends would go to his piece of land and work on the house. It was a fun project. Sometimes they had a contest to see who could build the fastest. During this time the young man met a lovely girl, the daughter of the merchant who owned the store above which he resided. They spent time together and quickly fell in love. The merchant gave them their blessing, and they held a pretty little ceremony on the beach, not far from the docks, where the young man now oversaw and managed the unloading of goods from every ship that landed at their seaside town.
After their wedding and a honeymoon at sea, the young man brought his bride to their home on the farm. As tradition dictated, he was to carry her in his arms over the threshold. Alighting from their carriage, the young man picked up his bride and proceeded to carry her to the house. He had not seen the house for a month. Walking up to it, he noticed with alarm that the roof was sagging and the windowpanes had fallen out of their frames. Several bricks were loose, and – horrors – the very door under which he was to carry his beloved looked very much in danger of caving in over their heads! Embarrassed and afraid, he realized the folly of trusting those without experience or wisdom with the blessings he cherished most.
For Further Study:
Read Proverbs 11:14, 12:15, 15:22, and 20:18. Is it a sign of weakness to ask others to help you with a problem? When it comes to listening to others, what’s the difference between a wise person and a fool?
Read 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:9, and Titus 2:1-2. These list qualities that older people should have. How do these virtues help older people be wise counselors for the younger people? For example, if someone is hospitable, it means they like spending time with others and having them at their home. How does this make it easier for them to give advice? How does this make others want to get advice from them?
How can you grow up to be a wise old man or old woman? In 50 or 60 years, your older friends at church will be gone; will you be ready to take their place? Pray to God about it. Pray for the older people in your congregation. See if you can invite an older couple over, or send them a friendly note.