Have you ever had someone that you had to get a gift for, but it appears they already have everything? This is so hard! We conclude that anything we could afford would often be significantly below what they would typically buy for themselves. We fear the gift might not be appreciated.
As a young pastor, I felt a similar pressure when preparing my sermon for you last month. What could I, a 25-year-old pastor, possibly offer to a congregation that is generally in a life stage that I have yet to reach? I think that is probably how Elihu felt as he listened to Job and Job’s friends debate back and forth. In a lot of ways, I connect with Elihu. I had to take a similar posture to Elihu while preparing to bring the Word to you. I had to stop, listen and ask the Lord what he had for you before I spoke because my words will never be enough. In contrast, his words are always more than enough.
Most of you reading this have been a young adult before and perhaps remember what it was like when older people minimized your opinions. I wonder if this is how Elihu felt leading up to Job 32 when he saw four people arguing in circles. I think he wanted to help, but as we know, he didn’t understand the full truth. I wonder if he felt like people viewed him as a bit of a “hot head” that couldn’t see the issue was less black and white than he thought it was. However, Elihu’s passionate response is quite close to right, if the situation were as Eliphaz and friends had claimed it to be before Elihu speaking up.
I think we can learn a lot from this encounter. It is very easy for us to look at those younger than us and say, “You just don’t understand. One day you will, but this is not that day.” If this younger generation growing into adulthood feels like we don’t care to understand them, then I’d suggest that this is a failure on our part. We should strive to equip our young people because God is just as capable of speaking through them as he is through us. Let us be humble enough to listen and reflect on their perspectives. What a day that will be when we will be able to learn from a kid! We could all benefit from a little child-like wonder!
Youth and Student Ministries Pastor and husband to Julia