Keeping Up

The new guy is always better than the old guy.  At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.  I think that Solomon came to this sad realization as he advanced in years.  He says in verse 15:

I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king’s successor. – Ecclesiastes 4:15 (NIV)

We see this in our own world today.  The older we get the less we can keep up.  The young ones have all of the freshest ideas and the latest and greatest technology.  We’re all falling behind one day at a time.  I used to think of myself as a pretty hip and happening dude.  Now I realize that saying things like, “hip and happening dude” make me sound really out of touch.  I’m an old dog trying to learn new tricks and it isn’t easy.  My reaction time just isn’t what it used to be.  I used to be able to keep up with the newest trends.  Now I’m just trying to keep up with my son.
So what happens to us as we age?  We shake our heads at the younger generations and complain about their music (just like our parents complained about ours).  We learn that there are more important things than fashion and trends and technology.  We (hopefully) gain wisdom and understanding about the things that matter most in life.  Yet we feel like we’re being traded in for the newest and latest and greatest.
We even do this with our leaders, which is what I think Solomon was really trying to say.  We get tired of the man or woman who is in office and we dream of what it would be like to have a younger, more modern person with fresh eyes and ideas.  Then, when the new leader emerges, we realize that things were probably better under the old leader.  Now we’re stuck with the new and not necessarily improved leader.  They eventually learn on the job and get things right and by the time they do, we’re ready to elect someone new again.  We’re never satisfied because we don’t know what we really want.  So we might as well be chasing the wind.
Ecclesiastes 4:13-16 (NIV)
Better a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king who no longer knows how to heed a warning. 14 The youth may have come from prison to the kingship, or he may have been born in poverty within his kingdom. 15 I saw that all who lived and walked under the sun followed the youth, the king’s successor. 16 There was no end to all the people who were before them. But those who came later were not pleased with the successor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

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