CNN recently televised a news piece comparing photos of President Barak Obama between the time he took office only two years ago and today. The increase in his gray hair is astonishing, as the above video reveals.
Such is the predicament of every president, who on average age two years for every one year in office.
But should we be astonished? Is the onset of gray hair something to be embarrassed about and covered up, or should we view it as element of beauty?
Please join us in today’s daily Bible conversation.
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Ezra 4:24-8:20. After being forced to stop rebuilding the temple and later receiving permission to continue, I’m amazed that the King of Persia decided to fund its completion. God works in mysterious ways.
The overarching message to me in today’s reading of Ezra is that God can use pagan kings to fulfill his purposes. He used Assyria to bring destruction on the people, but then he used their descendants to rebuild it, too.
1 Corinthians 3:5-4:21. Divisions were forming in Corinth. Some people pledged their allegiance to Paul while others to Apollos. Paul’s message: pledge your allegiance to Jesus.
While I believe in the importance of denominations—which were founded by people like Paul and Apollos—because they provide accountability to congregations and pastors, our ultimate loyalties must belong to Jesus. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). It’s for this reason that it seems to me that there is only one church exists in every city: the church of Jesus Christ. However, various expressions meet which we call congregations.
Psalm 29:1-30:12. Psalm 29 begins with “Ascribe to the Lord.” But what does “ascribe” mean? Give, bring, or present. The basic idea behind the word in this context is presenting the king with a gift. The gifts we present to the king of kings are glory and worship, which are really extensions of ourselves. When we worship God and make a big deal about him, we present him with a gift.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.
We live in a culture that values the strength of the young but not the gray hair of the old. In a month I turn 46 and already, my hair is almost completely gray. Ten years ago, the thought of entering my 40s depressed me. I’m getting older, I lamented. I wish I could stop the aging process.
But not any more. I don’t want to return to my 20s and 30s. I’m content with my 40s, because I earned that gray hair on my head! I may have avoided the presidency (thank God!), but I am in the midst of raising three daughters.
Actually, certain painful experiences and relationships probably contributed to the gray hair—but the lessons learned along the way were invaluable.
In 1 John 2, the apostle John addresses three groups of people: children, young men, and fathers. The young men are strong, but John writes that the fathers “have known him who is from the beginning” (1 John 2:13-14). The fathers have a lifetime of experience with God to rely on.
It’s kind of like the racquetball class I took in college. Our instructor was well into his 60s when he taught the class. Finally, after weeks of instruction, we began playing. The young bucks stood in line to challenge our aging instructor—to hilarious results. The old geezer didn’t even break a sweat as he barely moved around the court. The young men, however, were diving back and forth, flailing helplessly. The young men were strong, but the old man had the experience. And experience trumps strength.
But let me take this one step further. In today’s reading, Paul tells the Corinthians that they don’t have many fathers (1 Corinthians 4:15). The young believers lacked the maturity and experience that only an older believer can offer. For this reason, he writes, “I urge you to imitate me” (1 Corinthians 4:16). He was saying, “Be like me and get some of that spiritual gray hair that is earned through faithfulness to the gospel over a lifetime. Then be a father or mother.”
I encourage you to aspire to be fathers and mothers—and not children who still drink milk (like we read yesterday). Earn some of that spiritual gray hair and then use the lessons learned to raise other young men and women in the faith.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- Is it okay for people color their hair when it stars to gray? Why or why not?
- What are the benefits of growing older? What are the benefits of growing older in the faith?
- Who has been a spiritual father or mother to you? What contributed to their spiritual gray hair? Was it worth it?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.