"The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old." — Proverbs 20:29
Have you ever heard that people, like fine wine, mellow with age? Well, that theory about wine, at least, was put to the test in Strasbourg, France, when officials sniffed and tasted what was reported to be the world's oldest wine in a barrel. It was a barrel of white wine that had been aging for more than 500 years at the time and had an alcohol content of 9.4 percent. To offset evaporation, one bottle of dry white wine was added to it four times per year. But make no mistake: In spite of evaporation, the composition of the wine confirmed it was a 1472 vintage.
And it's worth noting that, at least for this barrel, the wine didn't mellow with age at all. In fact, it had become highly acidic. Let's hope the same can't be said about us as we get older.
Gray hair, or sometimes no hair, is a sign of aging, but is it a sign of "Aging Gracefully" — that is, being "full of grace," as we grow older? I don't know about you, but I have to be careful as my years begin to add up. I have to really guard against that tendency at my age to become a cranky, crotchety old complainer and insensitive to those around me, especially younger people. How about you?
The scripture from Proverbs says something about that. There is a "splendor" or "beauty" to gray hair, which really refers to a quality which should be in older people. Because gray hair reflects aging, that aging should resonate experience and knowledge, wisdom and understanding, and a steadiness and calmness of spirit and maturity.
The apostle Paul had a lot to say in regard to older people. The best known verses are taken from his letter to Timothy and give us great insight as to God's goal for us as age comes our way. In 1 Timothy 2:2 he writes, "Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance."
Now that's a high calling in itself, but not to leave older women out, he also gave these instructions to them in 1 Timothy 2:3, "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."
Take note of all those aging virtues: temperate (which means moderate), respected, self-controlled, sound in faith, love and endurance, a reverent lifestyle, addiction free, and teachers of good. I believe these Christ-like qualities in us will lead to these beautiful promises in Psalm 92:12-15:
But the godly shall flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the LORD's own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit: they will remain vital and green. They will declare, "The LORD is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him."
Well, senior saints, how are we doing? How's your fruit? May we all, by God's grace, be great examples of God's love for us and our changed lives through Jesus Christ. Maranatha!