“The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old” (Proverbs 20:29, New Living Translation).
The wonderful thing about the body of Christ is there is room for everyone. It doesn’t matter if we are young, old, or somewhere in between. Nor does God look at intellectual abilities, our personal appearance, our physical strength, or any other measurement society places upon our worth. Sometimes we allow the world’s criteria to influence how we feel about ourselves. A better way to view ourselves is through God’s eyesight. Everyone has value. Everyone has both strengths and weaknesses.
Proverbs 20:29 shows two ends of the spectrum, youth and the aged. Youth has physical strength and energy, but age has the wisdom that comes through experience. God uses both. Neither age group has a viable excuse not to be active in the work of the Lord.
God Uses Youth
Jeremiah tried to use his youth and inexperience as an excuse with God, but it didn’t work. “’O Sovereign LORD,’ I said, ‘I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!’” (Jeremiah 1:6, NLT). God didn’t agree. “The LORD replied, ‘Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you’” (verse 7). In other words, get busy!
Paul instructed Timothy to be an example to others—all ages—even though he was young. “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity” (I Timothy 4:12, NLT).
God Uses the Aged
Old age doesn’t disqualify us either. “Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three when they made their demands to Pharaoh” (Exodus 7:7, NLT). Remember, this was at the start, not the end, of their days in leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. Many more years of service remained ahead of them.
Even if we have lost some of our youthful energy, we still fill a valuable place within the body of Christ. Job 12:12 tells us, “Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old” (NLT). Psalm 92:14 promises we will be alive and fruitful. “Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green” (NLT). We have modern day examples of this within the local church and into regions beyond. Numerous retirement age men and women, now in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s, involve themselves in various missions endeavors at home and abroad. They remain active and fruitful in reaching souls wherever they go.
God Uses Us All
Ecclesiastes 9:10 sums it up well. Regardless of age, physical condition, or other challenges we might face, we can still be useful in the kingdom of God. He has called us, so let’s get busy.
“Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might, because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, the place where you will eventually go” (New English Translation).
Prayer: Lord, please use whatever talents and abilities You have given me to advance Your work wherever I go. If You open doors of opportunity, help me to walk through them with faith that You will enable me to complete the task.