No. 45 - 30th July 2017

A friend of mine recently said that growing old isn’t for sissies. He’s nearly ninety now, his balance has gone and he’s falling a lot. It’s not a pleasant experience. The novelist, Anthony Powell once said, “Growing old is like being increasingly penalised for a crime you haven’t committed”. I’m sure we all know of people in that situation. Perhaps you’re one of them.

But, on the other hand, there are also lots of benefits to growing old. Soup stains don’t bother you any more. And if the noise next door is getting on your nerves, you just turn off your hearing aid. No, seriously, one of the greatest benefits of old age is the wisdom that comes from a life time of experience. You develop a wider perspective on what’s really important. You begin to get in control of your emotions and you’re able to take a more balanced view of life. Winston Churchill once said, that “When you’re 20 you care what everyone thinks about you. Then, when you’re 40 you stop caring about what other people think of you. When you’re 60 you realise no one was ever thinking about you in the first place”. You see, that’s wisdom.

When I was younger, I gathered lots of knowledge and information about things, but that’s not wisdom. Wisdom is learning how to use that information. Suddenly, without realising it, we’re into the realm of morals. Because I can either use information to build other people up, or I can use it to gain power over them. Knowledge is power, and Information can be used for good or for evil. There’s an ancient proverb which says “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. It seems like a strange idea. I mean why should we be afraid of a loving God in the first place? But, when I’m aware that the Almighty, all powerful God sees right into my heart and knows every move I make, then the fear of offending him is a very powerful incentive to make the right choices in life. That is the beginning of Wisdom. It drives me to use my knowledge in the right way. To make wise choices. That’s why a healthy respect for God is a fundamental part of wisdom.

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