I remember as a kid my parents getting the newspaper, and one of the daily reads of the newspaper was the comics. As a kid, I would eventually get a hold of them and read them too. Some were easy to understand because they stood alone and were funny. Others were written as an ongoing story that was a bit above my head at the time. There was one character that seemed to show up in many comics from time to time and in various forms. It way typically an old guy on the peak of a mountain, and someone has climbed up seeking out the meaning of life, to which there is usually some funny response.
Growing up in the church I did, there were a number of older members who had a tremendous impact in my life, encouraging me, supporting me, and just appreciating me. I was very fortunate. I recently spoke to a newly formed gathering of retired folks on the Mesa campus about the blessings, challenges, and opportunities of age. Folks who have gotten to the traditional retirement age have experienced so much, and by the very fact that they are still around, is a blessing. Yet it is easy to see the challenges that come with that age too.
John Eldridge, in his book “Fathered by God” speaks of the six stages of the masculine journey. They are boyhood, cowboy, warrior, lover, king, and sage. When it comes to the last two, I do not think they are specific to men though. The king/queen stage is usually when folks are at the peak of their responsibility, experience, earning, and expertise. At some point that stage comes to an end, and the next logical stage would be the sage, but often people don’t. The definition of the adjective of sage is, “wise through reflection and experience.”
That is where the challenge comes in. So many people arrive at that stage in life and they are experts at what they have done, but many are not a Sage because they have failed to reflect and seek God in what they have experienced. Eldridge defines a sage as “one who draws you closer to God.” The church needs Sages; folks who have reflected and grown from their experiences in Christ, and can use that wisdom and understanding to help lead others through life’s challenges and closer to God.