“Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.”
Proverbs 16:31 (NIV)
When I was in my 20s, I worked with a woman who had the most beautiful gray hair. It wasn’t really gray, but a silvery white, and I remember thinking I hope my hair is that color when I’m older.
It’s a fact: with age, our hair changes color, or for some of us, it may even fall out. This is hard from a physical standpoint because it may not be the new “style” we wish to have. It is also difficult from a mental standpoint because it means we are getting older and losing our youth. From a spiritual standpoint, however, we should view this change as something glorious because wisdom should come with age. According to Proverbs 16:31, our gray hair will be a crown of splendor if we have gained wisdom by living righteously.
Notice that for gray hair to be a crown of splendor, there is one stipulation: we must live righteously. Chapter 16 alone shows us the following ways to live righteously:
- Commit your plans to the Lord (v. 3, 20)
- Pray, pray, pray
- Be honest in word and deed (v. 11-13)
- Speak the truth in love and conduct business honestly; treat others as you would want to be treated
- Choose wisdom and understanding over riches (v. 16)
- Seek what is good and right more than money and stuff
- Be humble (v. 5, 18-20)
- Honor others above yourself and accept correction and instruction without being defensive
- Speak kindly (v. 23-24)
- Speak words that build up and edify others and words that promote peace
- Be patient and keep anger under control (v. 32)
- Understand what pushes your buttons and learn to be patient with others rather than exploding in anger at them
Considering the ways listed above, are you living a righteous life? Have you gained wisdom over the years that addresses these guidelines? Do you use that wisdom in your life?
Of course, the entire Bible, not just Proverbs 16, is our guidebook for living righteously. So as you read God’s word daily, look for what he’s saying to you and pass down to your children and grandchildren the things you learn from the Lord. In doing so, you are producing fruit in your old age (Psalm 92:12-14), leaving a legacy that your descendants will honor and emulate (Proverbs 17:6), and bringing glory to God. This makes your gray hair a crown of splendor, so wear it proudly!
And that beautiful silver hair I hope to have someday… I also hope it will represent not just the passing of time, but also wisdom gained from living a righteous life.