I was teaching my children a lesson on the difference between peer pressure and positive influence, and it got me thinking.
Do you remember the story of Rehoboam? He was the grandson of King David. He became King of Israel only to drive Israel away and lose 10 of the 12 tribes. Just in case it’s been awhile since you’ve studied 1 Kings chapters 11 & 12, I’ll give you a quick summary;
- King Solomon, started out good and wise, but was led astray by his later “wives” into worshiping false gods. As he did so, his ego grew bigger than his budget and he placed heavy taxes on the people.
- After Solomon’s death, his son, Rehoboam, became king. The people’s spokesman, Jeroboam, asked him to lighten his father’s tax burden.
- Rehoboam asked for advice on the matter from 2 different groups of advisors:
- The older wise men, or Elders, who told him that the people will serve him more faithfully if he listens to their request.
- His “college buddies” (younger peers), who told him to “show the people who’s the boss” with whips and heavier taxes.
- Rehoboam showed that he’s easily swayed by his peers, and ignored the sage advice of his Elders. He increased the taxes and added harsh penalties for non-payment. (Brilliant, right?)
- Not surprisingly, the Israelites thought this was a boneheaded move. They rebelled and created their own kingdom with Jeroboam as King.
- Rehoboam lost 5/6ths of his kingdom, and the blessing of God for his inability to follow the wisest counsel.
So, my question is, in what way or ways am I listening to my peers instead of my Elders? Unfortunately, my parents have strayed from the gospel path, so their advice doesn’t always qualify as wise counsel. So first, who are my Elders? Then, what are they trying to teach me.
In my case, I can safely say my Elders are the older and experienced leaders of my church. I can look at their life critically and see if they have set an example of Christ. Are they living modestly? Are they managing the church’s tithes responsibly? Are they caring for the poor and needy? Are they living like Christ? Since they are doing all these things, I can safely heed their advice.
So, what are they trying to teach me? Well, from the front page of the church’s website, I can find these articles:
- Weaving Christ Into Our Souls
- The 3 P’s that Changed My Perspective on Talking to God
- How to Be a Strong Link in Your Family Chain
- Saved After My Daughter’s Suicide
- People Can’t Live Without Hope
What I don’t see is anything on protests becoming riots, gossip, or famous peoples’ wardrobes. There’s nothing on who is more fascist, how to decorate my living room, or what one world leader thinks about another.
I am trying to focus my daily thoughts and worries on how to draw closer to my Savior by following the advice of my church leaders. I am also trying to ignore the opinions of my peers. Truly, no-one needs to be offended by everything, and faith in God IS more important than fear of the world.
Here’s hoping you are finding peace in the chaos!