All praise and glory to God for all the elders who share their wisdom and experience for building up the members of the church!
And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)
One must be open to all wisdom from those who are your elders. They are those who have walked the walk of faith in Christ for many a years. They have faced challenges and have encountered various temptations and yet stand stall in the grace of Christ. These are champions of the Christian faith and not wimps that I’m talking about.
You must be humble enough to ignore their lack of certain skills that you might possess. Like you are well versed with computer skills, can move quickly, play the guitar, ride a sailboat and have a great collection of Christian teachings. Yet, they might have things you still need to learn from, like ministering to children, casting out demons, surviving blizzards, refuting heresies etc. Christianity is never about perfect people, there are no perfect people who were perfect all the time but there is the Lord whom we trust in and he is eternally perfect. With that said, we are to help build up each other in Christ instead of being proud of our achievements.
There are certain ministries such as counseling, healing and deliverance where you need to learn from those who are experienced in the field. So do give a listening ear to those who are veterans in those ministries. You might not have to like everything that they say as you have the right to discern instead of taking things at face value. Just take a note of what they said and verify if that is consistent with the Bible or not. You can then accordingly apply their wisdom to your ways of ministry, no matter how small or big it is.
Usually elders have a thing which can be the deciding factor passing on their knowledge to you. One word; respect. If you don’t respect them they won’t be in the mood to teach you. Simple enough. Instead you might get a good old-fashioned rebuking. That’s how it goes. Don’t make fun of them. The aging process might have gone down on them but one must have patience in such matters. The more you respect them by being polite the better it is for you.
Like I mentioned earlier, you are to learn from those elders who are not wimps of the faith. Be eager to learn from those walk the talk of the Christian faith. This would mean taking due diligence in deciding who is worth learning from. Pray to the Holy Spirit that you get the right people and that if any wrong person comes then you are able to say no to their incorrect logic.
I heard of a great Christian convention center where lots of miracles happen, even to this day. They were not teaching any new doctrine. All they did was to reemphasize all the teachings of the Bible systematically. People would receive the truth and be set free from their sins and sickness.
Since they taught very basic stuff I wondered that how come so many adults who over there for miracles (I was a kid at that time) behaved as if they’re hearing such teachings for the first time. Surely repentance, salvation, prayer and the love of God through Jesus Christ are things are taught at elementary levels. Why did they find it so difficult to grasp?
Then I realized that such people won’t attempt to learn anything from the Bible unless they’re spoon fed. If you ask them let’s pray for so and so person’s health they will demand to know everything about one. Yet after telling in detail they won’t commit themselves to praying for that person unless you prompt them again and again. If you point out the need to stop worshipping false idols they will stare at you in amazement until you read out to them the Ten Commandments and verses against idolatry.
As I’ve walked with the Lord God and have been ministering to people I couldn’t help but notice that the teachability factor for some is very low. They won’t do their research. They will avoid reading the Bible. All they want is someone to preach only on the topic they want to hear about. As usual they get offended if they don’t get to hear what they want, it’s if they know the teaching but only want you to parrot it for them. This provides an open door to deception and legalism. Deception because the Devil tricks both the preacher and the congregation into choosing to condone a sinful existence while only promoting blessings instead of repentance. Legalism because the people will accept only those things the pastor speaks about even if it’s already written in the Bible unless they personally hear it from their pastor.
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14)
I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready (1 Corinthians 3:2)
Now if you are in position where you are dealing with people who prefer to be spoon fed the doctrines of Christ what are you to do? Firstly, be patient and don’t lose your peace. Secondly, try to positively and politely encourage such people to have constant reading and discernment of every section of the Bible. And finally, learn to draw the line and say no to people who do not improve despite your warnings. The final tip may seem odd but you need to make them understand that being forever on ‘milk and baby’ mode won’t help them grow in the Lord Jesus. This doesn’t mean that you stop helping them if they will fall in trouble due to their ignorance. Rather it’s that you affirm and show that you value your time and efforts that you have applied to help them.