In churches, I’ve noticed there are Youth Ministries, Young Adult Ministries, conferences for Young Parents, Marriage Enrichment Seminars, and on and on and on. The culture of youth is very much alive in the church. When it comes to ministry for those of us with silver hair, we are shuffled off with euphemisms: “Senior Saints,” “Young at Heart,” and so forth. We no longer believe “Gray hair is a crown of splendor;” (Proverbs 16:31). It seems when someone retires from business, they also retire from service!
This is entirely wrong, and the 92nd Psalm illustrates this.
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him” (Psalm 92:11 – 15 NIV).
Consider palm trees and cedars for a moment. They are contrasted with the grass in verse 7: “the wicked spring up like grass.” In the Bible, a cedar tree is the symbol of strength and prosperity. People line their closets with cedar planks. Doesn’t it smell wonderful? Likewise, palm trees bear clusters of fruit that can weigh over 300 pounds! The Psalmist declares, “They still bear fruit in old age; they will stay fresh and green.”
How is that possible? For those of us with silver hair (it’s not grey – it’s silver!), when we look in the mirror, we may not feel entirely “fresh and green.” The person staring back is hardly the person staring out! Inside, I am still young and alive, even though my outsides tell a different story.
Think about the story of Caleb. As a young man, he was one of the twelve spies sent to scope out the land of Canaan. Caleb and Joshua were the only two who brought a favorable report. After wandering in the wilderness for forty years and fighting a war of conquest for another six years, it was time to receive for the Israelites to receive their inheritance. No one wanted to live in the mountains. The land was harsh and still largely unconquered.
Caleb was to receive his inheritance first. He was 85 years old. Surely, he should have a quiet little place beside the lake, but listen to his speech:
Lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain! (Joshua 14:10 – 12 KJV)
How is this possible? Where does this strength come from in our old age? The Psalmist tells us. By “proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright; He is my Rock!’” (Psalm 92:15) Don’t focus on the wrinkles. Focus on the strength of the Lord! Moses was 80 years old when he led the Exodus (Exodus 7:7). Daniel served 70 years! (Daniel 1:21) Zechariah and Elizabeth “were well advanced in years” when they raised John the Baptist. The best is yet to come!