Vol.XIII No.V Pg.7
July 1976

You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Why are older preachers less certain about things, and grow soft in their preaching against sin? C. B


The querist probably thinks I know some older preacher who could give us younger fellows the answers. Ill guarantee the querist is younger — for he is so certain about the older.

Well, some folk do grow soft after awhile. They begin to worry about financial security as health fails. They realize they can no longer start over with the vim and enthusiasm that once won them praise, and support. No doubt the faith of some is weakened — they wear down under the strain and stress of pressure. It is much easier now to compromise than to say what they know will involve them in another battle. Im afraid some have built a BIG PREACHER reputation, and want to enjoy its fruits on earth —Oh, what a short-sighted dream! And some were soft all the time. It just took a long poker to prove it.

Of course there is another side to this story. It is possible that long study and experience has given the older man a better knowledge of Gods word. He may have better judgment then the younger man who criticizes. None of us, young or old, are the final word in the matter; but the older man may have learned enough to become uncertain about matters that are not as black or white as the younger man believes them to be. Of course he should be able and willing to demonstrate his superior learning, and not use this claim as a cover-up. Sometimes the older, more experienced man who differs with popular or consensus opinions is actually showing great courage and strength. As a young man he may have known no better or felt compelled (since he was just getting started) to fall in line with his peers. But his trust in the Lord has grown, he realizes his first positions were more to please brethren, or be different, so now he says what he really believes is true. He may be wrong, but the man who speaks his honest convictions is not soft.

I wonder how Sauls early Jewish companions must have felt when he began to preach the faith he once destroyed (Gal. 1:23). Did they think he had grown soft?

Sometimes the years make us more considerate of others. We feel closer personal bonds. We have learned better how to understand frailties, having needed forgiveness more often. This can cause us to lose sight of eternal values, and put men before God; but it can also cause us to use greater patience and wisdom in helping our brother.

The problem is not youth, or age. Each have peculiar advantages and disadvantages. It is a wise old man who can encourage the young mans vigorous battle against sin, and offer advice for the struggle. It is a wise young man that can carry on an active fight for right without running roughshod over the older, slower soldier, who is fighting sin in his own way. Neither fire and thunder, nor gray hairs make for victory: but the way each of us follow our Lord and King.