The Age of Irrelevance – Part One

In the movie Ocean’s Eleven, Reuben Tishkoff makes a deal with shyster Willy Bank to go in half in building a casino. Danny Ocean warns Reuben not to make the deal with Bank, but Reuben responds, “Danny I gotta do dis!” Of course, Bank turns the tables on Reuben and coerces him out of the investment he made. As a result, Reuben slips into a serious bedridden depression, rendering him pretty much useless.

When Danny confronts him about what he did to Reuben, Bank replies, “He’s old. He’s irrelevant. Let him roll over and die.”

The movie is pretty funny, and in the end Bank gets his. However the Reuben vs. Bank vs. Ocean segment is pretty eye-opening.

Who determines when a person has become irrelevant?

An attractive, talented young woman in her 30s lamented that she feels she is no longer needed, convinced that the ship of opportunity has sailed as a younger generation pushes her into irrelevance.

A man in his 50s is a musical genius. However, he has been relegated to working with senior citizens because he is considered too old to capture the more modern styles of music. Now, instead of flowing in his natural giftings, he is forced to function in an area where there may be a need, but passion is lacking.

When did man assume the responsibility of putting a cap on God-given gifts? Some people cap themselves when they become convinced they are no longer relevant, as they glide through a passionless life. Others listen to age-biased, self-serving Willy Bank-type people who squeeze whatever value they can out of a person and then toss the peelings to the side. God never caps His gifts. He grows and inspires and perfectly connects the gifts to the needs.

I’m not going to share my exact age; however, I will admit that I am enjoying the benefits of Medicare. At my senior age, I lead the young adult class at our church. Currently, we are studying the book Experiencing God – Young Adult Version. The book takes the readers through the process of making important decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives. When I first started reading the book, panic almost set in as I realized nearly all of my life-affecting decisions have already been made and I am now living the consequences (good and bad) of those decisions. My class, on the other hand, is just at the threshold of facing those important decisions, and I have the privilege of walking through the process with them.

The class doesn’t judge me for my age or stodginess, and I don’t look down on them for their inexperience and immaturity. We have a mutual respect for one another. They know I love their excitement and energy; and I know they appreciate my wisdom and experience (and my scrumptious brownies). They feed my “I gotta do dis!” passion and I feed their “You better do dis!” need.

Maybe it’s time for those who feel they are irrelevant to put the “I gotta do dis!” passion into gear and start making tracks. After all, they’ve been around the block a few times. And, if the GPS isn’t working for them, they can always rely on the good old-fashioned folded paper map to find their way. It’s all relevant, isn’t it?

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