Recently I was reading in Proverbs and came across this verse: “The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” (16:31). If you understand the old english of the KJV you know Solomon spoke of the hoary head as the older person who now has grey hair. I have had the privilege of ministering to the elderly in one form or another now for over three decades, so I’m getting to the hoary head stage myself ! The first year of Bible college a good friend of mine and I were doing rest home services together and I was the preacher that Sunday afternoon. As I waxed “eloquent” suddenly a hoary headed man got up during the service, looked at one of his other elder friends and said “Do you wanna go out for a smoke?” It could’ve been argued this man suffered from dementia at first since we didn’t know him and this was inappropriate for a person to do in the middle of a service but upon chatting with him later found out he wasn’t mentally impaired, more spiritually impaired. He just had a change of mind about sitting in the service and wanted to do what he wanted to do, have a smoke ! Needless to say, his actions disqualified him for the crown God mentions in the verse !!
But what about you? The clock is ticking, your life advancing. Each day is a Divinely given opportunity to build what Solomon has written here. Even more than the experience of age, people need to see in us a person of wisdom and righteousness. Is your life currently exhibiting the way of righteousness? How do you typically make decisions? Carefully and consulting the Word? Or carelessly and like that old foolish man who wanted what he wanted, no matter what God wanted?
I have found with the elderly very often two especially dominant sins: pride and bitterness. They brag about how old they are now, what they have done or what they have learned or they have gotten hard hearted, cynical and critical having experienced the hurts of others towards them. These folks have made foolish choices in reaction to life. Yet I have also been blessed to meet others of advanced age who love the Lord and exude a spiritual sweetness ! And what a joy that is when you meet someone so. Life hasn’t shaped them, the Author of Life has. There’s a woman at a place our church currently ministers at who is now 101, and her mind is sharp, her spirit sweet and not long ago I spent about an hour talking with her and her friend near their apartment and my soul was refreshed. Her hoary head is a crown of glory, will yours be? Age should come to be viewed as a badge of honor, all too often it’s not for one reason or another. Live so today so that as time passes the Lord has developed in you the way of righteousness very clearly and consistently and in so doing leave for your family the richest of all legacies, a spiritual life !!