A few months ago, Bill Del Monte passed away. He was 109 years old. But that’s not what caught my attention. Bill was also a one-of-a-kind guy. He was the last surviving San Franciscan who lived through the 1906 earthquake that leveled his city. One could think that after living through that, Bill would have wanted to get as far away from the city as he could. But the opposite is true. Bill stayed with San Francisco, always showing up to the commemorative gathering at Lotta’s Fountain before dawn. He was a link to the past, a living reminder of San Francisco’s past and re-birth.
Bill’s story reminded me of this passage in Proverbs: “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31).
In this day and age, when so many people are trying to hide their age or try to act younger than they really are, it’s good to read a verse like that in Proverbs. Don’t get me wrong – I love seeing our younger generation of believers rising up and taking the lead on projects. But that doesn’t mean that those of us with gray hair don’t have anything to add to the conversation. The wisdom of the old has always been there to guide future generations into the righteous ways of God. In many ways, it’s a great responsibility and also a great joy.
See how the Bible puts it in Psalms: “O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come” (Psalm 71:17-18, ESV).
I love the way the Psalmist puts that – “Do not forsake me until I proclaim your might to another generation.” We serve a great God, one who has guided us out of darkness and into light. I know that he is faithful to continue his guidance as a new generation of leaders comes of age in our communion. I pray that those of us who have witnessed God’s greatness will continue to testify for many years to come.
I’m Joseph Tkach, Speaking of LIFE.