A 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?