“Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.”
While pondering this verse, an image of older, more experienced men came to mind; men who have “been there and done that.”
Street weary, he is wary of a new partner to train. He knows the rookie has been taught self-defense, state laws, patrol procedures, arrest techniques, and how to drive a squad car. But what the old cop also knows is that experience can’t be learned in a classroom.
“Listen, son,” the policeman says, “and pay attention to what I tell you; and you just might see retirement.”
Only 22, in 6 months he has seen more than 6 lifetimes of pain. A new recruit, straight out of boot camp, is sent to fill a vacated spot. The young sergeant can tell the recruit is fit, equipped, and ready to defend his country. But the veteran also knows the terrain, the trails, the smells, and the sounds that are unique to his battlefield.
“Listen up, boy!” the vet growls. “If you want to live to read your first letter from Mom, pay attention to what I tell you.”
“Listen to me, oh my son; take hold of what I am telling you.” Can you hear the warning in his words? Do you sense he knows something his son does not? Is it possible Solomon has walked down roads his son has not yet traveled? Yes, and more than likely it was he who recorded his experiences in the book of Ecclesiastes.
Wisdom calls out to us. The message is clear: listen, and live.
Yet, self has to have its own way. It chooses what feels good and cries out, “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” Self says, “I’ll do it my way.” And with no view toward the future, self concludes life is too short to be burdened by the warnings of old fools.
So, black bands continue to be place on badges; helmets still get placed on the butts of rifles; and parents still find themselves living longer than their children. Oh, that we would listen to the voice of wisdom.