"The decrees of the Lord are more precious than gold." - Psalm 19:9-10
"You know, you don't have to argue with everything that comes out of my mouth," I say to my eight-year-old. "I'm not a complete idiot; you could just try taking my word for it once and see how that goes."
"No I couldn't," he responds, and I grit my teeth. If he would just listen to me, he could avoid so many mistakes! If he'd just do whatever I say forever, his life would be so much easier! But no, I'm too old to be right.
Of course, he learned it by watching me. The biblical authors have gathered enough wisdom to save the whole world, so I should trust these ancient ones, consider their words more precious than gold. I could just try taking their word for once and see how that goes. But they're too old to be right. Show me some venerable old Commandment, Proverb, or Law, and I will interpret and historically situate it into abject submission. Then I'll do the very things the Commandment warned me not to, and finish up by whining about how hard life is.
If you're not smart enough to be as young as me, then you're not smart enough to be trusted. What sort of self-centeredness is that? What kind of hubris? What is it in me and my son (and, might I suggest, the whole human race) that makes us think this way? Why do we always have to argue with everything somebody older than us says?
What would happen if, instead of being so damn smart all the time, I just tried taking their word for it?
God, I know my elders in the faith aren't always right, but give me the grace to trust them once in a while anyway, and see how that goes. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.