“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” Proverbs 16:20
I was downtown yesterday at the Fall Festival and a lady I saw had beautiful white hair, and she was so pretty and active! But the interesting thing is – no, the INTRIGUING thing – about her hair is that it was purple on the ends. She had this sweet halo of purple that exactly matched her outfit! I thought to myself, I want to do that-but then I realized I don’t have all white hair-it is kind of grey, and black, and red, and brown, and white! But oh well. I sure admired her hair!
This led me to think about my hair. The Bible says that your wisdom makes your silver hair a complement – but it could be an insult, or a crown. If you have wisdom to match your gray hair, then the hair color and your wisdom complement each other. If you have more gray hair than wisdom; the Proverbs say your hair is visible evidence you are a fool. But if you have developed wisdom, then your silver hair is a crown of glory, for it declares a godly life, lived well.
“Respect your elders” is a common expression and an important Bible commandment. We are supposed to show special honor to those who are older than ourselves. The Ojibwe, our neighbors at LCO; say that our elders are always to be honored and cared for…Our Father said it this way, in Leviticus 19: 32 “‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” Clearly, we should respect those who have hair that is their crown of glory! Yesterday I sat with a 92 year-old great-grandma at a funeral, and while we waited outside in the cemetery she shared fascinating anecdotes about her life with me, while she held my hand. I was intrigued and interested by her stories about her marriage and her life, and her hand warmed my own, cold one. Her white hair literally gleamed in the sunlight above her snapping blue eyes as we sat there.
In the King James Bible it refers to grey hair as “hoary” or aged. A “hoary head” is gray or white hair, where aging has replaced the hair color of youth with gray or white in Isaiah 46:4. You may have noticed that the hair of our Presidents often turns grey in only four years of their being in office. Perhaps, graying hair is just related to stress and worry?! Hoary in the Bible means anything white or gray. And such hair color on old men is considered a beautiful thing. “The glory of young men is their strength; (it says in Proverbs 20:29), and the beauty of old men is the gray head”. (I think we have to imagine that guys with bald heads are really gray.)
But remember that both old men and women are to be respected. This is God’s ordinance. In Isaiah 3:5 it says the community of an ungodly and wicked generation, despises their old people. “Let us not be that generation” is my prayer. Proverbs 23:22 says-“Though age will reduce a mother or father’s abilities, they is still to be honored”. The Gospels in the New Testament commands that older men and women should be respected: don’t you love that quote from Timothy’s first letter:
I Tim 5:1-2 “5 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
Gray or white hair on an older person should be a badge of honor – a crown of glory! It is a change that God has ordained in our hair color that indicates age, maturity, and experience. American women are sometimes ashamed of their hair color, but I think aging should mean greater wisdom, holiness, love of Christ, and godly example. Now, some may say that this is not always the case, so Solomon, the Wise limited the proverb to those who actually seek these virtues.
But God did not limit our respect to those who are the examples, He says the elders should be treated with respect, cared for and uplifted. Jesus made a point of how widows, children, the handicapped and the ill should not be neglected but they should be cared for by their community. He didn’t say they had to be the smartest or the best members of the community-he said we should care for each other and pay respect to each other, especially the aged.
Think about the silver hair of the old couple Zacharias and Elisabeth (Luke 1:5-7)? They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless. What glorious silver crowns they had! And what did God do for them? He gave them John the Baptist, the precursor to Christ!
Simeon was an old man, whose goal was to see The Christ (Luke 2:25-35). The old widow Anna, presented herself to the Lord in holy and sober worship (Luke 2:36-38). Paul, near death, did not “count his assets” but rather he took the time to describe his faithful life (II Tim 4:6-8).
For a father to be a great father; he should train his children in the fear of the Lord as seen in Ephesians 6:4. Every one of our children and grandchildren is another opportunity for you to build a family tree in the kingdom of God. And today we hope they will honor your gray head as a crown of glory for the investment in their souls.
The Lord Jesus Christ in His glorified appearance has head and hairs white like wool, as white as snow in Revelations 1:14. It is definitely a crown of glory to Him, for He is the Ancient of Days and Everlasting Father though He is absolutely ageless in Revelations 1:18!
So I think I would love to show off my “own crown of glory”, through aging and gaining greater wisdom, holiness, love of Christ, and a godly example. What a joy it is to have made it to where I am in my life-and I hope you feel the same way! I thank God for your presence here today, not just the young – but the elders, because it shows we are on a path to gaining that shining solver crown! Maybe mine will have a light tint of Purple!
Let us pray together:
Heavenly Father, We love you deeply. You have brought us here today to share our love for You in song and scripture. You are so wonderful, so marvelous, so good to each of us. We lift our voices in praise for your infinite and generous mercy and grace for us.
Even as we struggle with the aches and pains of aging, even as we find it harder to reach out to You; we have faith that you will continue to be with us in our souls, and in our memories.
Father we ask for healing and strength for those of us who are ill or struggling. We ask for comfort and safety for those of us who are simply waiting and resting here at Water’s Edge. We especially ask for wisdom, discerning, love and gentleness for those who care for the residents here in the nursing home, in the hospital and in the offices of the Medical campus. Bless their hands and hearts Father that they would hear your guidance as they work here each day. We ask for that silver Crown of Glory, to be ours as we seek your heavenly Kingdom. Fill us with wisdom, love, grace and mercy so that we can know holiness here on earth.
Thank you Father for your Holy Presence here at Water’s Edge today.
We pray through the Holy Name of Christ Jesus. Amen.