“Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” – Job 12:12
Job is about to answer his own question, but before he does, I’m going to pause and live in it for a moment. I recently turned 34, so as I reckon it, I am a third of the way through my extraordinarily long life. I am at the age now when I feel like I should be an adult. I have adult responsibilities: A career/calling to fulfill, disciples to mentor, a marriage to nourish, children who will (gulp) become like me in many ways. And yet, in the day-to-day things, I feel about as prepared to face these challenges as I did in my early twenties.
Getting older doesn’t guarantee the accumulation of wisdom or the growth of character. For Job’s friends to whom he referred, long life had made them more certain, more self-righteous and more judgmental. So it is right to pause and reflect. In some respects, it is good that I still work out my own salvation with fear and trembling – age has not made me feel certain any more than youth made me feel invincible. But now comes confession: This 1/3 life reflection has made me realize that there are necessary things I was forced to do as a young adult that I have neglected now that I have a choice, and I am suffering because of them.
Going to university for me was a non-negotiable. My parents had made that much clear. And I savoured it. Class interaction, challenging reading and academic writing filled my tank and fuelled my passion, especially when I switched my major to theology. But I was impatient.
I suspect this meme actually originated from a conversation I had with Dr. Milley when I finished third year and graduated with my diploma. He urged me to pursue higher education, and I arrogantly ignored him. All I could see was the “ultimate goal” of being in pastoral ministry, forgetting that the highest goal is the progress of my soul before God.
The first reason I’m going back to the 90s is because, then, higher learning was a non-negotiable. In January, I re-enrolled at MCS, after two years of making excuses: It’s too expensive (about a coffee a day). It takes too much time (that I could waste on Facebook). I can read books on my own time (but nothing that challenges my mind). I have found that already my mind is more focused, my study of scripture more thorough, and my spare time is used more wisely. Oh, and I’m buying academic works again, for fun. Because 90’s Jeremy had a few things right (if by force); and besides, in going after godly wisdom and power, counsel and understanding, I am going after God.
“To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his” (Job 12:13).
By Pastor Jeremy Nippard