Honor the Gray
Job 12:12 "Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?"
Proverbs 20:29 "The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old."
In an age of plastic surgery and injections to make one look younger, it is very difficult not to assume that aging is undesirable. Western cultures are youth-centric, emphasizing attributes like the ability to work and physical appearance. But Native American communities respect older adults for their wisdom and life experiences. In Japan, we see a holiday called "Respect for the Aged Day," a national paid holiday where everyone shows appreciation for older people. The Japanese even honor their elderly by the way they speak to them. They have three different forms of language: casual, polite, and honorific. When they speak to the elderly, they use the keiyo, the honorific form of language.
We can learn much from the gray-haired ones in our churches. While any older person can speak of the scars and successes of human experience, the wise saints in the church can tell you about a lifetime of God's faithfulness, kindness, and steadfast love. They can testify to how good God has been to them. Google or Siri can't speak to that. But these sometimes slow-moving, soft-spoken warriors of the faith can tell us how God has carried them through countless trials (Isaiah 46:4). The wrinkled faces of these saints with a wrinkled Bible in their hands are treasured by all who love God and see his character reflected in theirs.
Take a moment today and appreciate someone in your life who is elderly. Call them, write them a letter, or even go and see them. Listen and see what you can learn!
Jesus, may we live a life that honors you. Help me to be grateful for those who have lived years before me. Thank you for their knowledge and experiences. Bless them for their service to you. Amen.