"The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness" (Prov. 16:31).

As soon as we are born, everyone begins to get older. Have you ever plucked out a gray hair? Our sensual culture worships youth and good looks more than virtue and good sense. This began with those who came of age in the l960's, sayng, "Don't trust anyone over 30." Those spoiled baby boomers have had to revise their mantra, pushing it ever higher as they themselves age. However, there is more to life than being young, looking good, and having a good time.

In the Biblical world, gray hair was a badge of honor, not a sign of being decrepit. "The splendor of old men is their gray head" (Prov. 20:29). It represented maturity, hard-won experience and wisdom by living long and learning well from God's university of hard knocks. God's purpose for our lives is our spiritual and moral development, "so we might share in His holiness" (Heb. 12:10).

It is not how long we live, but how well we live before God that counts. "Teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom" (Psa. 90:12). As the years roll by, we never retire from the Lord's service. Caleb was one of the faithful few to the divine vision to conquer Canaan with God's help against all odds. He remained active and alert to the end, with youthful exuberance to take on new challenges (Jos. 14:6-15). "Paul, the aged," still wrote encouraging letters during his final Roman imprisonment (Phile. 9). To keep his mind sharp and occupied, Paul was still studying toward the very end of his life (2 Tim. 4:13). Victor Hugo said, "Winter is on my head, but spring is in my heart."

Someone has said, "Experience is what you get after you don't need it." No, if we keep active in the Lord's work, we can use our experience somewhere in the future, even if it is teaching someone younger (Titus 2:3-5). Contrast this with some elders who may think serving as an elder is a lifetime appointment to a board of directors, regardless of their declining fitness of age and ability to execute the "hands on" work of shepherding the flock.

David Lipscomb, long-time editor of the Gospel Advocate and co-founder of David Lipscomb University, knew the Bible in his day about as well as anyone. In the very last months of his live at 84, he would sit in his rocking chair and study his Bible for up to 2 hours daily. In 1916, a year before his death, he wrote, "We have long ago passed the threescore and ten years allotted to man on earth...As we approach the end, the more we study the Word of God, the more anxious we are to meet Him, knowing we have opposed all innovations and changes upon His order at every point along the line of duty drawn by Him" (Gospel Advocate, 1916, p. 1).

May this be our epitaph, that we were faithful to the Lord and His Word, as we get older until the very end of our life on earth. It is better to wear out than to rust out in the Lord's service. Christians should not detest getting older. As we progress through the Lord's school of discipleship, it brings us closer to graduating to that heavenly shore where there are delights with our Lord forever more (2 Cor. 4:16-18). The sick and physically weak are then forever healthy and strong.

BY W. Frank Walton in Jackson Drive News and Notes, No. 43, Oct. 26, 2003.

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