The Hen and the Jewel – Today’s Youth Devotion

The Hen and the Jewel

Bible Reading: 1 Timothy 5:1-4

Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:32, NIV

A HEN WAS once scratching in the barnyard, searching for food. She spied a lump in the ground and pecked at it until she had overturned a bright, shiny diamond!

The hen cocked her head (as chickens will do) and studied the sparkling jewel. Finally, however, she kicked it away with her foot, saying, “If my master had found such a jewel, he would be happy, for he likes such baubles. But I would much rather have a single barleycorn than all the gems in the world!”

That diamond was worth far more than a kernel of corn, of course, but the hen didn’t care. Although the farmer would have jumped for joy to have found a diamond, it meant nothing to her.

We often do the same thing. We value things that our Master cares nothing about and ignore things that he thinks are really valuable.

For example, God’s Word tells us, “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32, NIV). That Bible verse commands us to show respect to people who are old. In the same sentence it tells us to revere (or respect) our God. Why? Because showing respect for elderly people and showing respect for God are related.

You see, God commands respect because he values respect. If we act like that hen in the barnyard and ignore or throw away what our Master values, we’re showing that we don’t really respect him or worship him. But if we really respect our God, we’ll value the same things or the same people he thinks are important. And God values the elderly.

It’s easy to believe that elderly people serve no useful purpose in society. After all, some move very slowly. Others may act crabby at times. But, believe it or not, the elderly can be storehouses of information and wisdom. (Check out your grandparents or your great-aunt Bea!)

Since God thinks respect for older people is valuable, we should think so, too. Otherwise, we’re just like that silly hen in the barnyard, kicking away diamonds while scratching for corn!

REFLECT: God commands us to respect others because he values respect. Do you show respect for the elderly? If not, why not? If so, how? Think of some specific older people you know. How can you start making it a habit to show respect for them?

ACT: Ask your parents if they could serve corn at your next dinner together to remind you of the story of the hen and the jewel. (If that’s not possible—or if you hate corn!—buy a small bag of birdseed and feed the birds for the next few days—just make sure there are no diamonds in the bag of birdseed!)

PRAY: “Father God, I thank you for the older people at church, especially__________.  Thank you for the older people in my family, too, especially_________.”