Review of Proverbs 16
by Pastor Ola Joseph Kolawole
I will dwell on just one verse — verse 31.
It says in TPT: “Old age with wisdom will crown you with dignity and honor, for it takes a lifetime of righteousness to acquire it.”
As I read that verse, I’m reminded of the different old people with whom I am in an intentional relationship. You see, one of the banes of our generation is that we are good at building relationships with our colleagues and those who look up to us but hardly ever do we build intentional relationships with old people. And guess what? We need this ever-so-much!
Like, seriously, right at this moment, apart from your grandpa or grandma, is there any old person somewhere that can call you (or you can call) this morning to glean some wisdom from?
By the grace of God, I have quite a few of them in my circle. Let me tell a story to lay the ground for the couple of points I intend to make in this reflection.
One of my favourite days in the UK was the day my wife and I hosted an elderly couple who came visiting from Nigeria. They had come on holiday to see their children and grandkids in London but the man and his wife made it a priority to see me and my wife in Birmingham before their return to Nigeria. (This was shortly after we got married in 2016). And we had a very wonderful time together!
After a long day of talks, prayers, a trip to an African restaurant (where we treated ourselves to some cow leg, poundo yam, edikaiko vegetables, rice and ayamase), a stroll to my wife’s university (which happened to be the same institution where the grey-headed man had his Masters’ degree back in the sixties), and back to the hotel where we reserved a room for them, Eleos and I got back home, exhausted.
However, even though my head was aching after all the ups and downs of the day, I sincerely felt *AWESOME!* I said to my wife as we lay on the bed that night: “Everybody needs this! Everybody needs some ELDERS in their life. More so, an elderly COUPLE!”
You see, there comes a point in your life when neither your relationship with your peers nor your relationship with your parents will be capable of proffering the wisdom you need to move you forward…
I was at such a junction in 2014. It was something that had to do with my relationship with Eleos. A man of God whom I respected (and saw as a father-figure at the time) came up with a disagreement with my choice of a life partner and I became held between what I was sure I heard from God and what this ‘respected father figure’ also claimed to have heard from God.
Of course, I went back to God and He reassured me of the things He had said to me both prior to the commencement of the relationship in 2012 and afterwards. In addition, God led me to discuss the issue with this elderly couple. (When I say “elderly”, I’m talking of octogenarian-elderly). And oh, the wisdom they brought into the mix! They helped me navigate that phase of my journey with such tremendous wisdom such that I ended up marrying this excellent daughter of Zion and at the same time earning the respect of and preserving the relationship I had with the man of God who initially claimed otherwise.
Looking back in retrospect, I thank God I had such an elderly couple in my corner.
When they finally met Eleos in person on that day in Birmingham, Mama said to me with great excitement, “See what a beautiful treasure we would have missed? We bless God for His leading.” (Indeed!)
Now you can understand why they were particular about coming to see us in Birmingham all the way from London. But much more, hopefully, now you understand why you may also need such a relationship!
So when the bible says “Old age with wisdom will crown you with dignity and honor, for it takes a lifetime of righteousness to acquire it”, I think I can relate.
However, on a practical level, here are two things I suggest you take away from this verse:
1. I have learnt that you don’t get into such intentional relationships with elderly people simply by going to ask them to “be” that kind of person in your life, NO. You ATTRACT such people into your life by your HUMILITY and your VALUES. (see verses 5, 18-19). When elderly people see young ones who are fully out in pursuit of the fulfillment of their purpose and they add humility to their passion, they are naturally drawn to want to pour their elderly wisdom into such people.
2. Make a personal resolution today to also become that kind of a wise old (wo)man. The verse we have considered says that such a status (of being old and wise — full of dignity and honour) actually takes a lifetime of righteousness to acquire. Not every old man or woman out there fits this description because not all of them have invested towards it. But you can start now. Every now and again, I have images of the kind of old man I want to be playing in my head. I visualize my wife and I together in our 80s and see the kind of couple we want to be and the kind of people we would want to be pouring of ourselves into at that stage. Such images remind me to live with integrity today and make investments of righteous-living.
I commend the same to you.
Step up your game in your diligence.
Step up your game in the pursuit of your purpose.
And whatever you do in life, stay humble.
I hope this helps one or two of us today.