Our Lord’s attitude toward prospective disciples was exactly the opposite of our approach today. We dare not mention the cost of discipleship for fear we shall scare away prospects. He did not encourage cheap dedication. He seemed to dash cold water on the enthusiasm of would-be disciples (Luke 9:57-63). He gave the rich young rule a shock treatment, not a massage. Alexander McLaren says, “The best way to deepen and confirm good resolutions too swiftly formed is to state very plainly the difficulty in keeping them.” This is utterly different from our psychology, but it is Scriptural to challenge cheap consecration. Let us never forget our Lord’s description of those who hear the Word and receive it with joy but have no root in themselves, and the son who said “I go, sir,” but went not.
Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.
I Kings 20:11
Nowadays, when most churches want young pastors and so much of our religious world is geared to youth, there is still something to be said for the voice of age and experience. It bespeaks a dangerous modern mood that mature and seasoned men find young Rehoboam disposed to scorn their counsel for the rash advice of youngsters.
We have always needed old people to keep things from going too fast and young people to keep them from going too slow. Youth has fire and age has light and we need both. “If only youth knew how and old age could!”
Some things come only with the passing of years, and the fruit of wisdom cannot be produced by any hurried process. Some things we must wait for. A mellowed Christian character cannot be grown hurriedly by any quick, overnight method. Paul at the end of his course and the finish of his fight has an advantage over Timothy. The old soldier laying down his armor still has an earned veteran’s right over the most promising recruit.