Don't Become a Mean Old Man (Seven Days in Utopia)

Tonight I saw Seven Days in Utopia. It was a great movie.

Ever since the first time I watched Lonesome Dove, I have loved Robert Duvall as an actor. In the movie tonight, Duvall played perfectly the role of an old golfer named Johnny Crawford. He operates the golf links in Utopia, Texas. After overcoming his own struggles, Johnny is in the position to impart some wisdom and perspective to the younger golfer (named Luke) whose dad forgot that it's just a game, and who reminds Johnny of himself when he was younger.

I didn't realize the movie would be so overtly faith-based, but watching the old man offer counsel and guidance to the young man on golf, life, and faith confirmed for me the value of having intergenerational relationships within the church. Young people need to know, affirm, and listen to older people; and vice versa.

Also, I thought about some of the people who envision themselves as one day being in Johnny's role as someone's life coach or mentor. It should be pointed out that wisdom and perspective don't automatically arrive with old age. They must be sought after and found in relation to God. After all, the Proverbs insist, "Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment" (Proverbs 9:10 NLT).

If one day we expect to be like the Johnny character, then we who are still young (I am 30 years old, so I still consider myself among the young) must heed the advice in the final chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes. The advice there gives us a simple strategy for not becoming a mean old person:

"Don't let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, 'Life is not pleasant anymore.'
Remember him before the light of the sun, moon, and stars is dim to your old eyes, and rain clouds continually darken your sky.
...Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don't wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well" (Ecclesiastes 12:1-2, 6 NLT).

The way to have something to say, to keep from being a mean old person, is to honor God today. Sickness and death will have their day in the future, but we prepare for those darker times while we still have the energy and enthusiasm of our youth.

"Remember [God] before the door to life's opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. Now you rise at the first chirping of the birds, but then all their sounds will grow faint" (Ecclesiastes 12:4 NLT).

We all want to think we'll have something to pass along, some wisdom to impart to the next generation. The scriptural testimony, though, is that only the ones who honor God today will have something to say to the people who cross our paths tomorrow.

And while you're at it, go see the won't regret it!

Related Posts:
Today's Learning Is Tomorrow's Teaching
Off to the Beach
Let the Old Folks Speak


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