Sage is almost synonymous with wisdom. Specifically, it is the wisdom that can only come with experience and a life lived long. In a day when we celebrate youth, we often miss what youth need more than anything else: the wisdom and counsel of those who have followed Jesus and gone the distance well.
When I listen to the life stories of sages I know I am always amazed at the experiences they have had, the lessons they learned along the way, how they overcame adversity and even how they live with the challenges of advanced age. One of my personal sage heroes died recently at 103. She was a woman full of wisdom, experience and deep faith.
One church I know has asked it's sages to share their stories, one each month, at length. They have recorded the sessions and are building a library of shared wisdom. More importantly, they are reminding the rest of the church that there are people among them who have withstood the test of time and whom we ought to honor and learn from.
The elderly in society are often marginalized as unimportant. In the church, these individuals ought to be honored: they are the examples to us of what it means to go the distance, stay the course and live out their faith over the long haul. Further, they have a wealth of wisdom that needs to be shared.
Does you congregation have a way to tap into the sages among you? Can we move from programs to keep our seniors happy to proactively seeing them as sages with something to teach the rest of us? Many of them are Hebrews 11 heroes who have walked the walk, talked the talk and gone the distance. Rather than marginalize them, we need to honor them.