Proverbs 16

Older and Wiser.

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.” ­– Proverbs 16:31 NLT

I love this verse. And if you’ve seen me lately, you understand why. What hair I have that has not turned gray has simply turned loose. But I still have plenty left and any hint that it used to be brown is long gone. So when I read this verse I am comforted. I sometimes blame my gray hair on my kids. But now I know that it is because of godly living! Wow! Why in the world would I even consider covering it up with Grecian Formula? I should wear it proudly like a badge of honor. Go ahead, you young whipper snappers, fling your full head of amber-colored locks in my face, but just don’t forget that my gray head is proof of my godliness! And godliness trumps good looks any day.

Don’t I wish it was that easy? Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just rest on the fact that growing old was a guarantee for growing in godliness? But we all know it’s not. We know plenty of gray-haired men and women who are anything but icons of virtue and fountains of faith. No, Solomon is not telling us that gray-headedness is proof of godliness. He is letting us know that a life of godliness can lead to long life. It is not a guarantee, but it can help prolong our life through wise living and the blessings of God. All the way back in Proverbs 3 he tells us that living a wise and righteous life will “give you a long and satisfying life” (Proverbs 3:2 NLT). Elsewhere he tells us that “Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life” (Proverbs 9:11 NLT). “Fear of the LORD lengthens one’s life…” (Proverbs 10:27 NLT). So gray hair is not proof of our godliness, but we are a whole lot more likely to live long enough to experience it if we choose to live our life according to God’s terms and not our own.

The truth is, the longer we live the more we should realize just how blessed we are. We should learn from life’s experiences and recognize just how true God’s Word is. Living life should prove to us once and for all just how ill-equipped we are to live it righteously. The older I get, the more easily I admit that I can’t defeat sin or discover contentment on my own. I am not smart enough, strong enough, brave enough, or determined enough to make this thing called life work. I need God. Learning to depend on Him seems to get easier with age. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still have plenty of strength to say no to His callings and promptings, but I seem to be learning from my mistakes quicker than before. I may stray off His path just like when I was younger, but I don’t seem to go as far as I used to. Experience is a great teacher. I sometimes joke that I am in God’s remedial school for slow learners. He keeps taking me through the same lessons over and over again, but I am starting to learn. Repetition makes the brain grow stronger!

I have a full head of gray hair. Sometimes I miss the brown ones. Sometimes I wish I had that full head of long flowing locks again. But I would not trade where I am for anything. I have made it to where I am because of the grace and mercy of God. I am wiser than I used to be. Not because I am older, but because God has been my constant companion over the years and I have tried to seek Him and listen to Him. No, I have not done so perfectly, but I have tried to do so persistently. God is not calling me to be perfect, but to have purity of purpose. He wants my intent to be a life of godliness. He knows I will never be completely godly this side of heaven. Until He glorifies me, I will continue to struggle with my sin nature. But as I grow older I am growing more willing to submit to His will for my life.

Father, thank You for my gray hairs. May they always remind me of You. They are a crown of righteousness. They help me remember that I would never have made it this far without Your help. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men