As leaders mature, so do their thoughts and views on life. With age, leaders grow in their knowledge of the Lord and their ability to highlight valuable life lessons.
For example, scholars believe the apostle John wrote his account of the earthly ministry of our Lord around A.D. 80. This suggests that he wrote from the perspective of a mature theologian.
By the time John wrote his Gospel, the church had wrestled with many of the theological challenges it encountered in its infancy. The discussion around a new convert’s obligation to the practice of circumcision, or to the rest of the law, was settled by the truth that all an individual needs to do is receive and believe in the Lord to become a child of God. In John 1:10-12, John described salvation. The way to God as noted in these verses was simpler and clearer than what many early church believers thought possible. Consider the discussions and even the arguments described years earlier by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians.
Leave it to the older saints, like John, to simplify things and to concentrate on what really matters.
John knew what to emphasize. He explored the deep meaning behind becoming a member of God’s family. In John 3:3 he introduced the concept of being born again. He said there must be a rebirth, because those who have accepted the Lord belong to the family of the kingdom of heaven.
John understood what was important.
In his latter years, John realized that the love of God is one of the most challenging concepts for the human mind. In response, he gave a practical example for individuals to wrap their hearts and minds around. He simplified this deep and difficult subject in a way that helped and continues to help people grapple with the love of the Father.
Leave it to older saints to present deep truths in ways that help others understand.
Much can be said about the perspective of John as a mature theologian, and the same can be said about older saints today.
The next time you see an older saint, don’t dismiss him or her; instead, engage in conversation. You might be surprised to hear his or her perspective—one surely refined by the tool of time.
By: Mario Barahona, president of Angelus Bible Institute in Los Angeles
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