If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
- James 1:5
I was talking to my sister the other day, about a week ago. No special reason, but in the last year or so, I have tried to call her at least once each month to stay in touch. My sister is eleven years older than I am, and she and I are all that is left of the family that I grew up in, except for a scattering of cousins here or there. As the conversation drew to a close, she did something that she rarely did. She asked her husband if he had anything to add, and he said from across the room, “Tell you brother to act his age.”
My response was that I used to be told to act my age and not my IQ, and now that the two are a lot closer together, I am getting confused on that point.
But then again, what is ‘acting your age?’
When I was three-years-old, I woke up to an empty house one day. We worked on a farm and my mother took advantage of the fact that I had not awakened to go down to the turkey processing plant, less than one hundred yards down the hill, to check on a few things. I was not worried at all upon awaking in an empty home. To my mind at the time, I had great freedom. I fixed a hot breakfast for myself, baking it in the oven, but my mistake was to forget to use a hot pad when I went to get the tasty morsels that I had just baked, basically a variant of S’mores. I was just tall enough to look into the oven window and watch the marshmallows turn golden brown, and I knew that I had to act quickly as marshmallows go for brown to flaming in just a few seconds. I learned that a hot baking dish will burn your hands. My mother learned that I was a handful, maybe a burned, hot handful. She also learned that I did not react to situations like a normal three-year-old.
When I went to school, I was tested in the genius category on the IQ tests, well over one hundred. So, when people told me to act my age instead of my IQ, I dumbed down what I was doing to a ludicrous level, less than one out of every ten IQ points being used. Which did the opposite of what they had asked me to do. I obviously did not understand what acting my age instead of my IQ meant, either.
Thus, I still don’t know. How do you act your age?
Okay, 2 Timothy 3:16 says that all Scripture can be used to teach us. Solomon was granted one wish and he wished for wisdom (1 Kings 3). He could have asked to be rich, to have his kingdom expanded, or many other things. He was rich. His kingdom expanded slightly from what his father, King David, had amassed, but God granted those things, because Solomon was already wise enough to know that he needed divine help in the daunting task of being king over all Israel.
Then Josiah rent his robes (2 Kings 22), when he heard the Scriptures being read, to find that they had not been worshipping God as they ought. God was prepared to turn Judah over to the Babylonians, but he spared Josiah that indignity, because Josiah acted wisely, knowing that worshipping the true God in the right way was extremely important.
Both of these kings, Solomon and Josiah, were young adults when these events occurred, but they acted as if they were much older, having wisdom beyond their years.
So, maybe the advice to act your age is not good advice. Solomon says in Proverbs to discern between good advice and not-so-good advice (Proverbs 12). Maybe we should act with wisdom beyond our years. Dumbing down our IQ, or actions thereto, to our age makes it hard for anyone to take us seriously, assuming that your IQ is higher than your age and that is true for most of the world, regardless of what people think.
But with that in mind – to act in accordance with wisdom beyond my years, I cannot act seriously for too long. I am sure that I will find something funny to talk about tomorrow or the next day.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.