Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding.
I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching. Proverbs 4:1-2 (NIV)
I’m going to look at this verse a little differently today. Most people will read this and focus on who it is addressed to. They’ll discuss how we should listen to our elders and not ignore their instruction. I want to stay in the area but let’s step to the other side and look at it in a more intense lighting.
Let’s look at the elder (or parent). Many abuse verses such as this to always remind the younger one to listen. I’m guilty of that, too. But, take a look at verse two.
I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. Before the younger ones should listen, you need to be giving sound advise. To be honest, when was the last time you got SOUND advice? When was the last time the “instruction” was just opinions or the elder wanting to be in control? The majority of people out there that are directing the young are not where they should be in order to give sound advice. The Bible is not giving open authority to boss the younger ones around. Yes, we are to be there to guide them and direct them. Yet, the real reason behind this and the necessary tools are ignored. It becomes a license to be nosy, bossy, and arrogant. If nothing else, all parents and elders in the families should go through an intense Proverbs study. Through the Bible it is emphasized how much more the teacher will be judged. Elders, you are teachers. You are teaching those who will one take take your place. You will be judged on how much wisdom you used in your role. So, you could interpret it as everyone is a teacher to some degree.
Please take this message to heart. Yes, the younger ones should listen to the elders. BUT, give them something worth listening to. Pray today and make a commitment that you will adjust your own life, your own spiritual walk so that you will be one worthy to be called an elder.