How can young Christians learn from older believers?

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I said years ago at a conference that it’s hard for a humble young person to be mentored by a humble older person. The humble younger person doesn’t think they’re worthy to take up the time of the older person they respect, so they never approach the older person because they think: “I’m not worthy of their time. Why should they give their time to me? Why should they invest themselves in me?” And the humble older person doesn’t think he or she has anything to offer the younger person, so they never really spend time together.

When the Bible says that the older should teach the younger—that older men and women should be teaching younger men and women (Titus 2:1–8)—I’d say that those men who don’t think they have anything to offer are typically the men I want to learn from. In all my life since I became a Christian, I have sought older men, and truthfully, there have been some wonderful older women who have been mentors of mine as well. In fact, the first books I ever received in my library were from a godly older saint, a woman. The first study Bible I received was from a woman in our church.

Seek them out, find them out, and be humble in your approach. But don’t just seek out one; seek out many. I had mentors who were Mennonites, Independent Baptists, and Southern Baptists, then later on, Presbyterian and Reformed mentors. I had numerous men I learned from and to whom I just sat and listened. I asked questions, and then I just sat and listened. I wanted to learn everything I could from them. But seek them out, be patient, close your mouth, and listen. They are not always right, and you are not always going to agree with them. You may find later that you agree with them more than you once did, but listen.

Listen to the old ways. Listen to the old paths. Listen to those old voices that have been there, men and women who have mapped out the paths through the mountains, through the trails of life and the Christian journey. The truth of the matter is that they are the ones who help lead us along so that we can make it to the end as we follow Christ.

This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with Burk Parsons and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, email or message us on Facebook or Twitter.