"The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their grey hair."
This last week I celebrated my thirtieth birthday. So, it is quite providential that the proverb above was before me in the morning devotions. This proverb deals with the different stages in life and their unique benefits.
Youth is a time of strength and energy. The mind is clear and able to study and think well. The body is in good health. The young don't have the aches and pains that the aged do. Young people often feel invincible. Now as with many proverbs, this one contains generalizations. Not all young people have good health and are full of energy. But normally this stage of life has these things as it's glory. But young people often don't have the wisdom to guide this energy and passion. This belongs to the aged.
The crowning characteristic of old people is their life experience. Grey hair represents the many years they have lived. Over the years they have learned many truths about life. They have learned from experience what works and what doesn't. They have seen the fads come and go. They have gained wisdom though-out the years. While his body is now weak, his mind is full of insight into life. He may not see well with his eyes, but he can see the truth much better. Again this is not always true. How sad it is to see an old person who has not learned much from his many years. I know of old people who are old and yet fools.
It is implied in this proverb that the wisdom and insight of the aged is superior to the strength of the young man. This is seen in the word "but" that separates the two phrases. We do nothing to gain the strength of youth, but we do have to learn life's lesson if we wish to gain the wisdom of the aged.
We learn, from applying this proverb, that each period in our life has its benefits and we need each age group. The young men need the wisdom of the aged. They need to listen to them. They need to sit at their feet drinking in their wisdom. They should show respect to those who have weathered the storms of life. Also, the youth should use this time of energy and health to serve the Lord. Don't waste this time on the empty and vain things of this world. This is no time to have your fun or sow your wild oats. God has blessed you with strength, young person; don't waste it. Use this time to gain wisdom from God. Your strength will disappear and if you have no wisdom to help you through your years of old age, how difficult and sad will it be for you.
The old people need to learn from this proverb to use what they have learned to help others grow in wisdom and knowledge. You have spent years of toil and energy to gain insight and understanding. Now is not the time to live for self. There is no retirement in the Bible. Don't spend all your time in travel and drinking coffee in Tim Hortons. Invest into the Church what God has blessed you with. We need the wise old people to help us young people to use our strength in wisdom. Read Titus 2:1-8 for how older women and men can teach those who are younger. All the benefits that come with each age group are gifts from God and are to be used in His service and His glory.
I hope that my next thirty years are used to be spent in the service of the Lord. I hope in my next thirty years to seek and find much wisdom. I hope in my next thirty years to know the Lord Jesus Christ in greater and deeper ways.