A Forgotten Treasure

tree.jpgA friend of mine wrote me a rather sad note.  He said that some seem to think that he is "over the hill," "out of touch," and "past his time."  He feels as if he is no longer valued.  This man has white hair and is in his early seventies.  What is ironic about this is that this man has continued to grow, develop, and change.  He has much to offer.  He has held leadership roles in a number of different sectors including the university and business. 

This isn’t the first conversation that I have had with someone who feels this way.  In fact, there have been many.  What is happening here?  Could it be that a number of us have forgotten that some of these people may in fact be treasures?  Could it be that we might gain much through a mentoring relationship with such a man?

A number of years ago, a friend of mine was about sixty-one years old and suffering from poor health.  He had been a church leader and outstanding preacher for many years.  For several years, he had been suffering from poor health.  Cancer.  Heart disease.  Parkinson’s.   The medication, the diseases, and a few other factors contributed to my friend’s loss of confidence. 

On one occasion he was invited to participate in a forum to discuss a mission opportunity.  He was hesitant to go.  In fact, he was very hesitant because his confidence had really been shaken.  I sensed that he felt weak physically and that impacted the way he felt emotionally.  However, he decided to go.  He flew to a large city where the small group of people met in the meeting room of an airport hotel. 

At one point, my friend decided to make a comment.  He did so with some hesitation.  No sooner did he make his comment than another man quickly dismissed it as irrelevant.

Almost immediately, after this man spoke, a man in the group who was the former president of a large Christian college asked for the attention of everyone in the room.  He began to speak and pointed to my friend.  He said regarding my friend’s comment, "He is exactly right and has pointed out some very important concerns."  

Later in the day, the forum dismissed and the participants all went home.  My friend went away encouraged by this man who would stand with him and affirm what he had said.

Do you know of a person in who is a forgotten treasure?   What do we lose when we disregard such people?

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7 thoughts on “A Forgotten Treasure

  1. We lose so much that is valuable in the way of insight and wisdom.  Christians grow through experience and the more experience behind them the more they have to offer.  I am working in a church where the preacher of 38 years stayed.  He has no ego, no agendas.  He has become a wonderful friend and a soruce of strength.  With the older and wiser we create problems that aren’t there many times.

  2. Jim,
    My family and I are members of a congregation made up almost entirely of people from the WW2 generation.  About 80 percent of this church is as old or older than my own parents (mid 70s).   Their love and maturity and wisdom and patience is a constant inspiration to us.  We respect and admire them so much.  If we disregard such people, we are sinning against them and forfeiting a part of our birthright.

  3. The Long Beach church has a rather large percentage of older members and many of them were wonderful mentors of faith for me and my family. 

  4. Frank–I suspect that with such a view of these people that you in turn are probably a constant source of inspiration to them as well.  Thank you.

  5. Allan–Thanks for passing on this story of this former minister at your church.  A valuable reminder that such a situation can actually be something rich and good.