Of Strength And Wisdom
One of the funniest things about getting older is how you never really feel old. Just yesterday, I was in the doctor’s office saying that I would put off a regular test until 50– and that sounded so strange to my ears. I can easily remember hearing a radio host say that after 40 you had to think about certain ways you eat, and I remember that it felt like it was a long way off.
So, it’s funny that at this point in my life I find a lot of comfort in today’s words of wisdom:
The glory of young men is their strength,Proverbs 20:29
and the splendor of old men in their grey hair.
Now, I know, that in today’s culture where we envy the young, grey hair isn’t viewed as glory. Some who cut off all their hair find that kind of glorious, but not many people will say that they are looking toward those with grey hair to guide them. And yet, that is what Solomon is implying with his proverb that the wisdom that comes from years (as indicated by the color of your hair) is as valuable as the strength of youth.
How can this be?
It’s because, in youth, we have the strength to do many things– and the impetuousness to think that we always know the right thing to do. And yet, how many times have we had to redo something or did we do the wrong thing when we were young? How many times did that strength get exercised, where wisdom would have kept us out of trouble?
The reality is that we go through youth and gain wisdom– either from learning from those who have been there before, or by experiencing it ourselves, and so the wise man says that we should value that grey hair, we should look at it as splendor, because it is something that has been earned over time. Sure, some of it is because of gifting, but there’s also a part that is with making it through life’s challenges and surviving.
That should mean something!