Peanut Gallery: During the month of June we are reading through the Book of Proverbs, one chapter per day. “Growing in Character” is the theme; each day we will look for practical advice on living a wise and godly life in this present age.
I recommend that you begin by reading through the entire chapter for the day yourself (a link will be included, see below.) There is something for everyone in the Book of Proverbs. I will focus on what speaks to me in the chapter and follow that theme for the day. But the verse that speaks to me, on any particular day, may be different from the wisdom God has for you… and you don’t want to miss out.
Growing in Character: Proverbs 20
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening sentence and prayer
One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.
Open my eyes, Lord, to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. Psalm 119:18 (NLT)
A reading from Proverbs: Proverbs 20:29 (NLT)
“The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.”
A reading from the Gospels: John 17:23
I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
The design of this proverb is to declare the peculiar advantages which persons of different ages possess, and the mutual need which they have one of another; and thereby to excite them to mutual love and assistance, and to make every one contented with his own age and condition; and neither to envy nor despise his brother, for the difference of his age and situation in life, as is very usual among men.
Excerpts from “Why the church needs intergenerational friendships” by Joseph Rhea (see full article here).
Benefits of Intergenerational Friendships
Here are a few of the things we gain by making friends across generations:
1. Wisdom…. The burden of learning is definitely on the younger crowd, but each generation can gain wisdom from the perspective of others.
2. Wonder…. Our church employs a widow in her 80s. Last year she recorded a testimony of how God has brought her through serious suffering with joy and hope. Her years lend her story gravity; her long experience with God suffused her words with glory.
3. Godliness. Intergenerational friendships can lead us to grow in godliness…. Opening my life to the view of someone not saturated in my generation’s assumptions can expose lifestyle patterns that, on biblical reflection, don’t line up with God’s will. God can use these friendships to tune my heart more definitely to his will.
Costs of Intergenerational Friendships
If these are the benefits of intergenerational friendships, what are the costs? What does it take to gain these blessings?
1. I must be willing to push through discomfort. Cultivating friendships across generations will lead us into uncomfortable situations.
2. I must speak and listen charitably. Cultivating intergenerational friendships will require me to… assume the best of people much older or younger than me, and to explore our differences with grace.
3. I must elevate Jesus above all else. C. S. Lewis said that friendship begins when one person says to another, “What! You too?” That is, when we find with delight that we share common ground with another. Friendship in a sense requires commonality of some sort. The further removed we are from another person — financially, racially, generationally — the number of potential connection points we have diminishes.
The small group of men to which I belong has bonded… over our common relationship with Jesus. We’ve grown closer by discussing God’s Word, by sharing our triumphs and struggles in life with God, and by wondering together at the grace of God displayed in Jesus Christ.
Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us: and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.
So we share in this Bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice,
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.
The body of our Savior, Jesus Christ,
Torn for you: eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life,
Paid the price to make us one.
The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you: drink and remember
He drained death’s cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.
And so with thankfulness and faith
We rise to respond: and to remember.
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.
As we share in His suffering,
We proclaim: Christ will come again!
And we’ll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King.
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen