Chronological Snobbery

One of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century, C.S. Lewis, when listening to the mentality of “younger is smarter/newer is better,” coined the term “chronological snobbery.”

To put it in terms everyone can understand, it’s called pride, arrogance and immaturity.

I once read the following statement by a young pastor in his early 30’s:

“We have a young church and a young staff. I mean, how could a pastor in his 50’s relate to people in their 30’s?”

What a foolish and asinine thing to say.

Does anyone remember how old Moses was when God assigned him to lead all of Israel out of bondage (including those in their 30’s)? Moses was 80.

Anyone remember how old Abraham was when God assigned him to be the father of God’s chosen people?  Abraham was 100.

I could go on.

Are there examples of this level of arrogance and immaturity in the Bible.  Plenty.

Meet Rehoboam.

Rehoboam was born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. He was Solomon’s son. So he inherited more power and riches than any other nation on earth possessed.

Israel was still a united nation under Solomon and, after Solomon’s death and Rehoboam took the throne, the nation was still united.

But that was about to change.

After his father died, young Rehoboam was approached by the people and respectfully asked to lighten their load and burden. Solomon had, over time, become somewhat of a tyrant, crushing the spirit of his people.  All they asked for was reasonable support from their new, young king.

So what did Rehoboam do?

We pick up the story in the biblical history book of 2 Chronicles, chapter 10:

“Then King Rehoboam discussed the matter with the older men who had counseled his father, Solomon. “What is your advice?” he asked. “How should I answer these people?”

The older counselors replied, “If you are good to these people and do your best to please them and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects.”

But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and were now his advisers. “What is your advice?” he asked them. “How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?”

The young men replied, “This is what you should tell those complainers who want a lighter burden: ‘…Yes, my father laid heavy burdens on you, but I’m going to make them even heavier! My father beat you with whips, but I will beat you with scorpions!’”

…Rehoboam spoke harshly to [the people] for he rejected the advice of the older counselors and followed the counsel of his younger advisers. He [then told the people exactly what his young friends told him to say.] So the king paid no attention to the people… (vss 6-15)

What happened next?

The once powerful kingdom of Israel erupted and quickly split into two separate kingdoms, often at war with one another.

Why?  Let me put it this way: because Rehoboam was an arrogant, immature fool.

He didn’t need more riches because he had inherited the richest kingdom in the world. He didn’t need more control because he was the king.

He was simply self-centered and foolish. Pride always blinds us to wisdom.

Ask our staff at Bacon Heights and they’ll tell you I always say, “You take care of those who take care of you.”  If you do they will see their work not as a job but as something that brings them joy and purpose. They see you as their protector, that you value them as individuals. As a result, they will give their best efforts.

Rehoboam had no interest in taking care of those who took care of him.  He just wanted others to take care of him.

One devastating mistake he made was rejecting the sage counsel of those who were battle-tested, experienced and wise due to a lifetime of learning.

Are you dealing with crucial decisions either with your career or attitudes or life’s cheap shots?

Seek out someone (or several) who’s been around the proverbial block a few times.  Those who have earned “degrees” from the “school of hard knocks.”

I have walked the road of vocational ministry just almost 38 years. I can only wish I had known 38 years ago what I now know. Fortunately, I did have older mentors who offered solid wisdom. Sometimes I listened. Other times, like young Rehoboam, I did not.

Advice from younger friends is not bad. You don’t have to be older to be wiser.  Just don’t make the mistake Rehoboam made by rejecting wisdom from those who have traveled life’s road further than others.

Love to you all, nw