The Bible study I'm attending this fall is going through the book/video series Read the Bible for Life by George H Guthrie. Basically it's all about how to study the various parts of the Bible. So few Christians, myself included, actually spend regular time in the Bible. This study has helped me realize that my attitude toward Scripture should be one of delight (Psalm 119:14, 18, 40 and many others!), not duty or desire to "get something out of it." God gave me his Word to know him. And I should delight to learn more!
All that brings me to my more specific point.
We were talking about reading the Bible in context, including literary, historical, and cultural context. One of the examples the author used for cultural context is our attitude toward aging. In Biblical times, the elderly were treated with great respect and revered for their acquired wisdom. "Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life" (Proverbs 16:31). By contrast, our culture today reveres youth and health and beauty. People do everything in their power to look younger, and the elderly are often disrespected.
Now I haven't personally experienced this because my gray hairs (and I have quite a few, especially after Link's birth) look like blond highlights and, as the cashier at Wal-Mart reminded me last week, I can still "pass for 14 or 15." (Really? I could understand 21 or 22. But 14? Seriously? But I digress.) However, this discussion caused me to look at my attitude towards the elderly that I encounter around me, say in the check-out lines and on the roads. What do I think (or say under my breath) when I get "stuck" behind that sweet little old lady that wants all her groceries subtotaled after each item so she can decide what to pay for or that old guy that pulls out in front of me going 25 in a 45? According to Scripture I am to "stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man" (Leviticus 19:32). These people have lived long, full lives and have gained a lot of wisdom along the way. And just because they walk (or drive) a little slower now, doesn't give me the right to treat them with disrespect. Definitely something for me to think about the next time I venture out onto Wade Hampton!