** This series of posts is designed to help Super Summer Students transition back into normal life after a glorious week. These posts should be helpful to any Christian wanting to grow and work through basic issues of Christian living. **
In 2 Chronicles 10, we read the story of a young king by the name of Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the son of King Solomon. After Solomon’s death, Rehoboam took the throne of Israel and was approached by his people. The people of Israel asked Rehoboam to lighten their workload, as they had done many years of hard service under Solomon.
What should Rehoboam do? If he lightens the load of the people, perhaps they would think him weak. If he does not lighten their workload, perhaps they would think him harsh.
Rehoboam received advice from two groups of counselors, the older and younger. Rehoboam then ignored the advice of the older generation for the advice of young men who think like him. In doing so, Rehoboam made a bad decision to become even harder on the people than his father. Immediately, the 12 tribes of Israel divided, splitting the nation into two nations. Rehoboam only was able to govern 2 tribes, while 10 full tribes rebelled and became the northern kingdom.
What happened? Besides the things that God was doing behind the scenes to punish Israel for their sin under Solomon, Rehoboam also made a terrible mistake. He refused to listen to the counsel of the older generation. He refused to hear the words of men who had lived longer than him, men who were older and wiser than him. Rehoboam only listened to people who were his own age, and he made a blunder that robbed him of his kingdom.
Don’t miss the life lesson here. We tend to surround ourselves with people who are like us. We tend to only talk to people who already think as we do. We do not often look outside our own generation to get advice about what to do, how to think, or where to go. And in limiting ourselves to the advice of people just like us, we rob ourselves of the kind of counsel that God intended to be present in his church (cf. Titus 2:1-6).
Younger Christians, do not make the mistakes of Rehoboam. Do not assume that your generation is the only one to serve Jesus or take their faith seriously. Believe it or not, the generations who are older than you have also struggled through peer pressure, depression, fear of man, dating, money issues, career choices, and all the rest. Honestly, and I mean no insult here, if you are only in your teen years, you do not have the kind of wisdom and life experiences to make life’s most important decisions without counsel. You need to hear the wisdom of pastors, parents, and other wise older followers of Christ. If you do not seek out the advice of older saints, you are very likely to make decisions that are just the same as the faulty and damaging decision that Rehoboam made.
Think this through in an issue like dating. Should you go out with a particular young man or woman (as the case may be)? Though you may not believe it, it is very likely that your parents, your grandparents, your pastor, your Sunday School teacher, or your youth minister can see more about your love interest’s character than you can. You have too much emotion tied up in the situation. You have too little experience identifying dangerous habits and trends in potential suitors. You need the godly counsel of others if you are to make a good decision.
By the way, if you are reading this and are not a youth, be sure that you also recognize your need to seek counsel and thoughts from others who do not think like you. Pastors need to hear from the older and younger generations. Thinkers need to hear from people who are more emotional. Merciful people need to hear from more logical people. Bluegrass folks need to hear from rockers. Cardinals fans need to hear from Cubs fans (if only to understand their futility). We need to listen to people who are not like us but who are seeking the glory of God according to his word.
Ask yourself who you might develop a friendship with to help in this area. Who is not like you in age, experience, or personal taste who might be able to give you a new perspective on life? Who knows, you might find out that, as amazing as it may seem, somebody different than you, older than you, actually has some pretty important things to teach you about following your Savior.