|“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; |
it is attained by a righteous life.”
I was both offended and touched by the little four-year-old boy when he shouted across the room, “Hi, Grandma!” I didn’t know him, and he was merely being friendly. But, the encounter set me back for a moment.
Having never had children or grandchildren, I had never heard such an address intended for me! How did he know my eyes were not focusing well that day, or that my feet were aching more than usual?
All this youngster saw was my gray hair, and assumed I was a woman of a certain age. I guess I am! Our culture so often looks down on the elderly, and most women do what they can to camouflage their true age. Some do better than others!
Our American society seems to have a pecking order: those who carry influence and those pushed aside. Minorities struggle with this constantly. They strive to figure out how they can compete for acceptability and significance.
Yes, age becomes a factor too. You don’t have to look far to see that advertisers aim for those under forty. Even churches spend time trying to appeal to what they think will appeal to that age group, or the even younger Millennials.
What of the rest of us? I guess in St. Paul’s day, the tables were reversed. Apparently their society looked down on the young, for he told Timothy, young in the faith, in 1 Timothy 4:12:
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
So, my challenge today for those of us no longer young is:
“Let no one despise your (age or race or gender or socio-economic position or educational status), but be an example in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
God intends us to always, and in all ways and all places, represent Him well so we may make a difference in our world.
St. Paul thought about the older women in his letter to Titus. He told Titus to encourage the older women of Crete to not only be an example, but to teach the younger women. Note what he wrote in Titus 2:1-10:
You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
We all have whatever God wants to use in us to benefit other believers. Let no one look down on your gray hair, or, for that matter, anything else!