For the past two years we have hung a Boston Fern on our back patio, both years we have had birds build a nest in the fern. This year Melody noticed something a little different, the nest was smaller and it seems the nest has a silver, furry, lining. She showed me the nest and I told her, “I know why it has a silver lining…. You cut my hair on the back patio the other day and they must have pick up the hair left on the ground to line their nest.”
Yes, my hair is a kind of silver white, that’s not unusual in our day and age is it. They tell us that we as a nation are living longer and longer. The current average life expectancy is 78.7 years which is an improvement over the 68.7 years of 1960. In other words, there are more “gray heads” around than there used to be. Some have referred to this as “the graying of America”.
I’ve been increasingly bothered by the shift in our nation over the past 20 or 30 years. There seems to be a lack of respect for the “older generation”. You can see it almost everywhere you go and throughout all aspects of our society. Yet, this is exactly the opposite of how God’s word tells us it should be.
Proverbs 16:31 tells us, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.” In Leviticus 19:32 we read: “Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.’
It seems significant to me that God links showing respect for the elderly with revering our God? Now I’m not writing this to beg for sympathy for me as I age, like many of my age group on the inside I feel a lot younger than I look on the outside. For me personally I don’t necessarily want or need special treatment, but God’s word says we who have gray hair deserve it. When is the last time you saw a young person give their seat to someone who was older than them. When was the last time you saw the “gray heads” being allowed to go first through a line or even through a door simply because it was the respectful thing to do? Our county and our schools will not teach this lesson, but then it is not their job to teach it, it is the job of us who are parents or leaders in our churches.
The gray in our hair is more than just something put there by nature. It is part of the silver lining God is lining our personal nests with…. It may not often appear that it is near us or that we have access to it, but if we stop and think about it is always there if we are near our God. In Isaiah 46:4, God says: “Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.
Our God “Has done it” and will continue. Even when we don’t feel very appreciated or respected the one who truly counts in our life appreciates, loves and respects us.
Russ Lawson is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with his column Today’s Challenges. He is semi-retired and an elder at the Mid-County Church of Christ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.