“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Trading Silver for Gold, by Randall D. Kittle

As I was praying, the Lord showed me an excited prospector who entered an assay office carrying a heavy, burlap sack. From this bag he took out a number of nuggets, which appeared to contain silver, and put them on the counter. He had come to exchange the silver ore he had mined for money. The assayer carefully inspected the nuggets and then weighed them with a balance. After putting the ore in his safe, he returned with a stack of bills that he handed to the prospector along with a receipt. With a smile on his face, the prospector took the money he received, turned, and left the building. As the vision faded, I could see a sly grin come over the face of the assayer.

Then I heard the Lord say,
“Warn My Church that they are trading the silver of the kingdom for the gold of this world, which is only fool’s gold. Because of how it has been acquired, this gold will never advance My kingdom. The silver they so willingly trade away is very precious to Me, and everything gained by this exchange will waste away and be lost, for it is ill-gotten gain. I am calling them to repent from their despicable action of casting aside the silver of age — which should be honored, consulted, and drawn upon. The enemy has enticed them into this by promising favor and popularity with this world and the gold of financial gain that comes with it.”

This word of warning was one of the sternest warnings I have ever heard from the Lord. There was a passion and determination in His voice that displayed His zeal for the Church to see their error and repent of their wrongdoing.

As I prayed about this strong rebuke, I saw how the enemy had lured church-leaders into devaluing, demoting, and discarding those who were silver-haired in their churches. The yearning to grow larger, the desire to appear contemporary, the longing for their services to look attractive and energetic, and the fear of financial collapse have drawn many down the path of dishonoring those who do not fit the youthful, energetic picture that is desired by today’s society.

Many churches put believers who are more than thirty-five or forty years old on the “back-burner.” Talented musicians and singers who helped lead worship have been given many “reasons” for being removed from the platform, while the truth is that regardless of their skills, dedication, and yearning to glorify God their looks are simply not young and appealing enough any longer. Some believers who’ve taught classes or been used in discipleship training for years have discovered that they will no longer be allowed to serve the Lord in these capacities in order for things to be “changed up” and “made fresh.” Others who have headed up entire ministries within the church are being quietly replaced or the ministry is being shut down because “it’s no longer relevant.” Even lead pastors who faithfully expound the Word of God and lead their congregations through trying times are being eased out so a younger man can take the reigns.

All this has been done in the name of remaining “culturally relevant” or training up and releasing into ministry youth and young adults. But whatever excuse we might come up with, we must not make a place for the younger ones at the cost of those who have diligently served for so many years and still have so much more to contribute. When this “youth movement” in the Church advances at the cost of those seasoned saints who have served God so faithfully, He sees it as an abomination.

While some of these changes might line up well with current church growth guidelines, they are despicable in the eyes of God and far from the instruction of His Word. Here are a few of the results of trading the silver of the kingdom of God for the fool’s gold of this world:

It Dishonors God — The most important reason to repent from any cooperation with these practices is because they dishonor God. Throughout its entirety, the Bible teaches the principle of honoring those who are older — those who have served diligently, going before us to show us the way. The Bible clearly ties honoring those who are older with showing honor and reverence to God. “You shall rise up before the gray-headed and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32).

It Discards Wisdom — Throughout the Bible, God not only encourages us to respect those who are older, but also to turn to them for instruction. The picture the Scriptures show us has the silver-haired teaching, instructing, mentoring, advising, and much more. As it tells us in Job 12:12, “Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days comes understanding.” In these days when true wisdom is so necessary, we dare not lose the wise counsel and godly advice of those who have gained much through both their time with God and the experiences of life.

It Disregards God’s Instruction — Because of this rampant move toward youthfulness, many with little experience have been quickly promoted to positions of authority within the church. First Timothy 5:22 warns us, “Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others.” This warning has to do with appointing too quickly — too soon to really know the character of those we are placing in positions of oversight, and perhaps, also, at too young an age for the weight of that responsibility.

Many young believers with promising gifts have had their spiritual walks shipwrecked by being promoted too quickly. Unless the characteristics of humility and thankfulness have been well developed in their lives, their legacy will be like that of fireworks: rising quickly, shining brightly, but then falling back to earth as little more than ashes. Those who are older and more established are far less likely to crash and burn. Instead of fast and fleeting fireworks, they will blaze as spiritual torches — bringing steady, divine illumination to many.

It Disposes of Fruitfulness — If we discard the experienced leaders we possess in order to increase our appeal to the worldly-minded, we have also decreased the fruitfulness of our work. The Bible promises that, “The righteous … will still yield fruit in old age” (Psalm 92:12–14).

Most of the things I have learned as I’ve grown as a man of God I gleaned from men and women of God who were much older than myself. The testimonies of these older ones who have encouraged, challenged, and inspired my life are too long to list. There was my former church secretary who would often challenge me to be more Christlike than I was. There was my dear friend, Dale Rumble, whose zealous pounding on the pulpit crying out that
, “We all need more of God. We need to more diligently seek after Him” ignited my heart to always seek to possess a desperateness for God. It was on older “father in the faith” who, in a time of great turmoil in my ministry, took the time to meet regularly with me to encourage me, give me godly advise, and pray with me. I will never forget the willingness of this silver-haired saint to exhort me as a spiritual son, giving me the courage I needed to carry on. To a great extent, everything I now do to advance God’s kingdom is the fruit of those who have gone before me and sown principles of the kingdom of God into my life.

It Discounts Strength — Failure to respect and utilize those who have walked longer with the Lord also discounts their strength and weakens the Church. Proverbs 16:31 says, “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness.” Why does the Lord see them as possessing “a crown of glory”? The next verse goes on to say, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (Proverbs 16:32). The spiritually mature who are established in the faith may not have the same level of energy as those who are younger, but they very often possess more character, and it is character that the Lord sees as mighty and ready to do great things for His kingdom. They are like spiritual Calebs who, though older chronologically, have the strength of character to still do great exploits for God. To put them out to pasture is to face spiritual warfare without all the weapons the Lord has given us.

Our only response to the cry of God’s heart is to open our heart before the Lord and see if we have walked upon this path of dishonor. While we must repent of any wrongs we have committed, we must also be diligent to never again trade the silver of the kingdom for the gold of this world.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23–24).

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