“Young people look forward; old folks look back,” says Stuart Briscoe of Elmwood Church, Brookefield, Wisconsin. “Old folks see the good old days, the young see only bright horizons.”
On the day when the new foundations of the ruined temple were laid in Jerusalem after seventy years in exile, the reactions of the generations were markedly different. The young people were so excited about what was new and fresh that they sang and shouted and danced for joy. Their faces were wreathed in smiles. But the shouts were mingled with sobs because, while the young were delighted, the old were dismayed. Their cheeks wore no smiles, but were bathed in tears (3:12). They remembered and mourned the old temple, the old days, the way things were.
The mingled sounds of delight and dismay were apparently indistinguishable from a distance. (3:13)
Enthusiasm without the cautions of experience can lead to projects crashing in flames. Experience without the fire of enthusiasm can lead to projects never leaving the ground. Old people harping on the way things were can kill the hope of the future, while young people worshiping the way things will be can be wounded if the lessons of history go unheeded.
God made youth and old age for a reason - they need each other!