Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Grey Hair

29 The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head. (Proverbs 20:29) 31 The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness. (Proverbs 16:31)

Only recently I heard someone say that they hated being over the age of 50 and by implication hated the idea of approaching old age, because the archetypal old person is a dribbling, bedridden, Alzheimer's sufferer.

Here, the writer of the Proverbs describes the dignity that may come to the aged. This dignity comes because of the life that they have lived. Those who have committed their lives to the ways of righteousness -- who have committed their years of strength to the task of bringing glory to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and extending His Kingdom throughout the earth -- acquire the badge of age (grey hair) as a mark of splendour; as a crown of glory (anticipating the greater crown to be received as a heavenly reward on the Day of Judgement).

Those who dread getting older do so because their lives are filled with regrets and "if only"s. Certainly, with grey hair may come slower thinking and responding, more painful movement and need for longer hours of rest, however, those who have lived their lives in the way of righteousness, will have godly offspring to care for them, spiritual children and grandchildren who appreciate the words and acts of kindness that were shown to them over many years, and who will be very willingly to step into the slack spaces that older aged creates.

The issue is not old age (that will come inevitably to all who live that long). The issue is how we lived our lives leading into that old age. Was ours a life of self-centred pursuit of personal peace and affluence, or was it a life lived for the glory of God?

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