There is a natural resource in this country that is not being mined. This natural resource has the potential to help Americans in so many ways: Finances, careers, relationships, romance and our spiritual lives just to mention a few. Scripture tells us of this resource ready to be mined:
The glory of young men is their strength, And the honor of old men is their gray hair. (Proverbs 20:29 NASB)
There we have it; the glory of young men is the strength of their bodies. I won’t bore you with stories of my glory days…. You know, what I used to bench press and what I used to run in the 40 yard dash! Actually, one of my personal rules of thumb is to never believe these two things that a man tells you: 1) How much he used to bench press. And, 2) How fast he used to run the 40 yard dash. After coaching my son for many years in baseball I might add a third; 3) How fast his fastball was once clocked. Anyhow, you get the picture, when we are young, our glory is how fast we can run, how much we can lift, how long we can work… our glory is physical. My brother and I used to jump off the roof of our parent’s house in our free time. That’s right; we would get on the A shaped roof, and move up one shingle at a time, jumping off from each spot until one of us chickened out. We got pretty close to the apex! Did you catch the “used to?” That was when we were in our middle schoolish years. Now, I have to gird up my loins in order to step down from the tailgate of a pickup truck (35 or so years later). The glory of young men is their strength.
The honor of old men is their gray hair? Well, let’s look at this a bit closer. The word translated “honor” here could also be translated “glory” or “magnificence.” Moreover, when this was written, gray hair was a symbol for wisdom; a kind of synonym. Knowing this, allow me to hit you with my Danny translation for this verse (not a scholarly translation of the Bible mind you): Young men are typically set apart by the strength of their bodies, while older men are set apart by their wisdom.
Now back to mining our resources…. Our country is filled with old folks! Thanks to advances in medicine and healthcare, old folks are everywhere! Old people filled with life experience which brings WISDOM! Older people are more likely to have: survived painful breakups, survived bouts of depression, survived recessions and even depressions of the economy, experienced unemployment, worked on various jobs, interacted with all types of people, moved to far away towns; they have been though a lot and can look back on successes and failures and draw wisdom from these experiencers! Wisdom ready to be shared with those who may be lacking in that area. Young guns… this isn’t about intelligence or knowledge; this isn’t about being smart – please, no offense. We are talking about practical application based on experience which can be called wisdom. The more you experience the more wisdom you typically have. So, if the inspired proverb above is true, then why do churches place “young, married with children” in the job description when seeking a pastor? I personally know a pastor who caught wind that someone on a pulpit committee (which chose not to call him as pastor) didn’t like his grey hair. I find it interesting when I look at the staffs of (mega) church web-sites, that it often looks like the Senior Pastor is the youngest person (with the possible exception of the Youth Minister). Why is this? I have heard many reasons, one of the most prevalent is that churches want to attract young people and a young pastor might do this. If the glory of an old man is his wisdom, perhaps this isn’t the best way to search for a pastor who is responsible for the well-being of souls in the church? It’s not just churches; football, basketball and baseball teams seeking a head coach (college in particular); companies hiring workers; America in general seems to be placing a high value on youth. I’m not suggesting that being young should disqualify a person for any position… I am simply suggesting that we begin (particularly the young among us) to tap into this vast American resource. Talk to, listen to, take advice from trusted older people. Thinking that age disqualifies because it renders people unable to relate is believing a lie. We can avoid so many pit-falls and hardships in our youth if we will just receive advice from trusted elders with real life experience . And by the way, this concept does not only apply to men…. A wonderful resource that is waiting to be mined is also the wisdom of older women. This is true today just as it was 2,000+ years ago when Paul encouraged older women to teach younger women in his letter to Titus.
America, it’s time to stop wasting our valuable natural resources!