by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he. —Job 32:4
So then let God's children be on their guard and see that they remain modest; this is a beautiful, though unspectacular, virtue. And although they who seek to advance themselves despise them because they are not constantly putting themselves forward, let them assure themselves that they are much rather noticed by God, and that he will bless their honest behavior and make them to profit more in two years than those who are too hasty will do in four.
We see what happens to fruit. If fruit is too soon ripe it also fades away quickly. But the fruit that is slower in maturing also lasts longer. So it is with those who wish to advance themselves before their time. Truly they may have some beauty and some taste; but it will not last. On the other hand, those who are modest and honest, and not so presumptuous as to put themselves forward hastily, will surely be slow; but in the meantime the Lord gives them a more abiding fruit.
It is true that modesty is a virtue proper for all men. Nevertheless young people ought to note what is said here, namely that they must yield honor to their elders, acknowledging that they may have excessive passions which need to be restrained by other men. For they are not sufficiently established in their own nature, and they lack experience in self-control.
Furthermore, when a young man has behaved himself thus modestly, he must at the proper time utter the thing that God has given him, even though it be among older people. For the order of nature does not prevent a young man, when older men do not discharge their duty, to supply what they lack—yes, even to the shame of those who have lived long, and misspent the time that God has given them, or rather utterly lost it.
You see, then, the middle position which we have to hold. The reverence which young folks bear to their elders must not hinder the maintenance of the truth, that God should be honored and vices suppressed. For it may happen that the older men are destitute of God's Spirit, or else lewd persons shall have in them nothing but craft and unfaithfulness; or perhaps they will be opinionated or headstrong. Now in such cases, should young people be so held under the yoke that they shall by the authority of their elders be turned away from God and his Word and from that which is good and holy? Certainly not. —Sermons
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.