Proverbs 20:29 The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.
It is said that each morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up and says to himself, “If I cannot outrun the fastest lion on these plains today, I will be devoured.” And somewhere on that same morning, a young lion wakes up and says, “If I cannot outrun the slowest gazelle today, I will starve.” But the old lion, seasoned and wise, scarred from many past battles – some won and some lost – is different. He thinks “If I want to eat today I must out think every gazelle”. Rather than run and waste his energy chasing that which is much faster than he the old lion will lay in wait at the right place until the right time. Though his belly growl and the sun beat down he will wait. He knows. He’s been here before. He will eat today.
America is dying. It’s not dying for lack of technology. We have “I pads” and “I tunes” and we’re up to our “I Balls” in digital toys. We’re not dying for lack of prosperity. Try and get into a restaurant on Sunday following a Church service (if you are still attending, that is). You can barely park, and will have to wait your turn while your fellow Americans, like hogs, gather to the trough. We’re not dying for lack of transportation, nor because of the price of gasoline. Every time the gas goes up a few cents Americans howl like Jack Nicholson did in the movie “Wolf” years ago. Yet I know for a fact that Europeans have been paying $8.00 a gallon in many of their nations since 1988. If gas is too expensive, why are there so many cars with but one person in them – and that the driver? Why aren’t we car pooling? No, that’s not why America is dying.
America is dying because there are few old lions.
There are many old people – baby boomers my age. But many of them spend their days sitting in front of a television or a computer screen. Few read books of any worth. Most play games on Facebook or on the ‘net. Very few – though there are a few – are doing anything constructive with their lives. I meet many of them in the hospitals, trying to share the love of Christ with them. They tell me “When I get out of here I’m going to visit you at your Church”. I smile because I know that only one out of 99 will ever visit – and usually that one will only come once. Worshiping Christ is an adult pleasure. Many prefer Nintendo to Jesus.
There are lots of young people in America. What do they do with their lives? If you feed them, they will come to Church. But are they being taught as our Lord taught “It is more blessed to give than to receive”? (Acts 20:35) Are they being taught to give, not just money, but of themselves? Are they visiting the widow in her affliction, ministering to the fatherless, and keeping themselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27)? Or are they being taught that Church is a place where “I come to be served”, a religious Wal-Mart where the greeters are ushers. Most young people are entertained in Church until they turn 18. They then leave Church, and few ever return. Why? Because they were taught that “Church is all about ME and what I can get”. Now grown, there are better places to be entertained than the Church.
Beloved, we are missing the mark!
The modern Church today attracts few people if it doesn’t “offer” certain amenities. Popularized in Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church many congregations focus on attracting “seekers” with music and dance. Yet I see no where in the Book of Acts where the early Church had to offer meals, music, and merriment in order to attract “customers”. Without nursery and without a live stage the early Church added 3000 souls in a day. How? They listened to an old lion named Peter preach a good old Gospel message. They repented of their sins, and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and were saved, though the government itself was against them. The Church today too often enjoys a diet of cotton candy. It may still attract large crowds – but are these crowds serving the Lord? Are they reaching out as salt and light to the darkness of America?
Our government is dying because, dear friends, children are users and not doers. That’s the nature of the child. Children think “we don’t have enough, so let’s just go get more. Let’s raid the cookie jar. Take from the haves, for we have not.” So they spend and they spend. When they begin to fall short and times get tough, they takes from others who have more. They rob the old lions so they can play games. In prison, they blame the warden. Out of prison, they blame the economy. Living on food stamps, they blame the rich. No child ever broke a lamp. It’s always somebody else did it – brudda did it – big bruvver, that mean old Gov-mint did it. It’s not my fault I’m living in my car or on the street. Let’s cry until the other children gather, and get together with the other children pleading until that someone else fixes my problem.
May I be brutally honest for just a moment more?
I’ve raised three children, one of whom is with Jesus. If you are in jail, dear friend, you are there because of the choices you made. If you are on the street, you are there because of the choices you made. If your family is in disarray, it is so because of the choices you made. You ran when you should have waited. You ignored the advice of an old lion, whether it was your parent, grandparent, or a pastor. You leaped when you should have waited. You have made bad decisions to get you where you are. Do you want things to get better. Here’s how.
Listen to me. I am an old lion. Pay attention to what I say. I’ve missed many a gazelle in my younger days, and foolishly fought many battles I should have never fought. My soul and my body is scarred. But I have learned from life and my Lord. Stop doing the bad and follow the Lord.
You are not my child. It is not my responsibility to send you to school, nor to feed you. The life you are living is YOUR responsibility. Don’t lay a guilt trip on me. I’ve never owned a slave, and wouldn’t own one. You say you were held down? Me too. I was held down in school because I should have tried harder. That was my fault. Own up to your own faults. It’s not my fault you are in a bad way. It’s not my fault you’re pregnant and unmarried. It’s your fault. It is time that you stop playing games, particularly the blame game. Hang up the cell phone. Quit texting to your BFF (Bestie Friend Forever). If you’re in school, do what you’re supposed to do. Study. Learn. Apply. If you’re out of school, go check out a library every now and then. Even a homeless person can get a library card. Read. Learn. Apply. If you have a job, even if it’s just flipping burgers or sweeping floors, do what you do as if you were doing it for God Almighty. The Bible says:
Colossians 3:23-25 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; (24) Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. (25) But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
If you work hard and work well, you will be promoted. I worked hard and was promoted throughout my Air Force career. On retirement I worked hard as a factory laborer, and was promoted to foreman. Do the right thing, work hard, and you will be promoted. Turn off the TV. Get off the couch and off of my back. America didn’t get great by carrying baby making people on a welfare roll. America didn’t get great by slaughtering babies so that babies could have more babies. America got great by people working hard, by excelling, by education. Get up off your backside – make something of your life. Quit waiting for the government or the Church to do it for you. Live! Quit playing the blame game. Quit playing the race card. It’s your life – do something with it. You were bullied in school? So what – I was too! Quit whining, and move on. If you’ve done wrong, repent. Quit. Stop. Turn to the Lord Jesus. Open your Bible and read it daily. Begin a rapport with the Creator, and do as He says.
No where in the Scripture does the Lord say “Sit on your backside and whine until some sugar daddy bails you out”. The Bible says “if you will not work, you will not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). The Bible says “in quietness work and eat your own bread” (2 Thessalonians 3:12). I’ve raised three kids, and you don’t look like any of them. I’m not raising any more children – don’t ask me to raise you. Get in Church. Listen to your Pastor. No, I mean LISTEN. If you do, one day you will be an old lion like me.
If so, I hope someone listens to you.