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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

"The Splendor Of The Old"


Message Summary: Today we encourage you to consider the daily text.  If you're a youth or young adult rejoice in and enjoy your season of strength. But realize it will pass. Let us all, young and old, recognize the "splendor of the old" and honor them, gaining wisdom from their life's experience.  If you are old and gray realize that God has a planned purpose in your remaining years on this earth as you share your splendor with those around you. Hopefully many will recognize and appreciate it.


“Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:32). "The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old" (Proverbs 20:29). "A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness" (Proverbs 16:31).

John and Faithe Keefer 46th anniversary
Yesterday our pastor, John Keefer, and his wife Faithe celebrated their 46th anniversary. Their steadfastness in life, ministry and marriage is a blessing to many. Brooksyne and I both appreciate their faithfulness to the Scriptures, to sound doctrine and holding firm against the moral anarchy of our time.

Last week we mentioned attending a 50th anniversary party for Mervin and Lois Buckwalter, friends from our church. At one point in our younger years it seemed anyone celebrating 50 years in marriage were just ancient and it probably still seems that way to our younger readers. But after celebrating our 40th anniversary last month "old" doesn't seem so old anymore! According to the US Census Bureau only 6% of marriages make it to fifty years.

I spoke to Mervin in church this last Lord's Day and he shared an interesting blessing he and his wife shared. Both his and Lois's parents celebrated their seventieth wedding anniversary! Now that's an accomplishment for anyone but to have both sets of parents makes it is outstanding and surely very unusual. I did a search to determine the odds of that happening but was unable to find any info. However according to one source the percentage of any single marriage lasting seventy years is only .06 percent so I suppose the odds of both sets of parents in a marriage making it to 70 years is infinitesimally small.

Menno Brubaker at 100 (click to enlarge)
This brings to mind Menno, a man who attended our church when we first moved to Lancaster County, who lived to be 102.  He attended until he was no longer ambulatory, only months before his homegoing, having lived in the same house all his 102 years. He was a widower at the time we met him and thus we never met his wife. He got around well using a cane. When greeting me he would look up (he stood maybe 5' tall and I at 6'2") and said, "We've sure got a lot to be thankful for don't we?" Now I've heard that rhetorical question quite a lot through the years, but when Menno would say it, it always made me pause and really consider the depth of such a declaration.

Menno didn't have much hair left on top but he had a prominent gray/white beard bringing to mind the verse and title for today's message:

"The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old" (Proverbs 20:29).


Stephen running track relay in high school
"The glory of young men is their strength." The truth of this phrase is very evident. When you are young you may take your strength for granted but now in our sixties we both sense a diminishment of strength. I (Stephen) enjoy lawn work and DYI home improvement projects. But after doing some work yesterday I can see (and feel) that I don't have the strength and stamina I had in my twenties and thirties. The other day Nick, a friend of Ester's was over for a visit. When a frisbee got caught up in our large front lawn oak Nick darted across the yard and shinnied up the tree to retrieve the frisbee. Usually Brooksyne and I take a long pole to retrieve the "stuck" frisbees from the branches.

I recall the strength of my youth.
When I was Nick's age I could jump over the width of a car. I did it often to impress Brooksyne before we married. Please don't ask me to try that now! I was athletic and a pretty decent long-distance runner. For many years we both played tennis together. Brooksyne was full of physical strength and energy. Being raised on a farm she was accustomed to hard work as her family farmed, gardened, and preserved food for their "brood" of seven.

Just for men photo "Gray hair the splendor of the old." I wonder how many of the elderly consider their gray or white hair a source of "splendor"?  How many of the rest in our culture do? (I wonder how many millions of dollars are spent annually to cover it?) The splendor should be a recognition of the experience, perspective, and wisdom the aged have.

One of the great underlying causes of social dysfunction in our land is the intergenerational breakdown and the segregation of age groups. God has ordained the progression of life from young to old and places His blessing in various ways upon each as the daily text testifies. And I believe each are needed for a healthy society. What a blessing when the older show love and interest in the younger and when the younger show love and esteem to the elderly.

Today we encourage you to consider the daily text.  If you're a youth or young adult rejoice in and enjoy your season of strength. But realize it will pass. Let us all, young and old, recognize the "splendor of the old" and honor them, gaining wisdom from their life's experience.  If you are old and gray realize that God has a planned purpose in your remaining years on this earth as you share your splendor with those around you. Hopefully many will recognize and appreciate it.


Be encouraged today,


Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

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