Devotional

Do you prefer no hair or grey hair?

Benny Ong // May 12, 2022, 12:04 pm

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"If we are to age gracefully, we must also know that our Lord desires that we grow in the knowledge of Him," says Benny Ong. Photo by Rodnae on Pexels.

We were getting ready for our 15th wedding anniversary dinner when my wife posed the million-dollar question. She wanted to know whether I noticed all her grey hairs and noted wistfully that when she first married me, she had no white hair.

I responded that when I first married her I had a full head of hair.

That was 16 years ago. I am balding. When I do go completely bald, I will not do anything about my hair loss considering the cost, time and effort involved in trying to look younger.

Trying to “fix” old age

The desire to be always youthful is an age-old obsession. Walk into any departmental store today and the most conspicuous space is occupied by cosmetics division. Scientists spend hundreds of millions of dollars researching an “elixir” to slow the process of ageing.

There will come a time when “fixing it” is no longer possible.

Businesses all over the world cash in on our desperation, selling us anti-ageing cream, “hormone” and food supplements that would “prevent wrinkles” or fight the ageing process.

Instead of accepting ageing as a normal process that ought to lead us closer to the Lord, many of us try desperately to fight against it and do all we can to prevent it.

I am not sure how far medical science can do to help human beings slow the ageing process. Even if the ageing process can be slowed by 10 or even 20 years, our bodies will eventually wear out. No matter how much exercise we do, or how many vitamins or supplements we take, there will come a time when “fixing it” is no longer possible.

Be secure in your worth

While we grow in age, we are also to grow in wisdom and grace before the Lord and before others.

Our worth is not dependent on youth and vigour.

This is not an inevitable process. I have met brothers and sisters who have been Christians for many years but who are not careful with their words and very often their conduct does not reflect the age of their Christian walk.

If we are to age gracefully, we must also know that our Lord desires that we grow in the knowledge of Him.

If we focus on Him and live our lives for His glory, we will be less concerned about growing old.

To age gracefully, we must understand that our worth is not dependent on youth and vigour. We are worth the same to the Lord whether we are 40 or 80 years old.

Be useful at your age

I had the privilege to be acquainted with the late David Marshall [Singapore’s first elected chief minister] for two years before his death. Even at 80, he was mentally alert. He took a part-time job as a consultant with one of the leading law firms in Singapore before his death in 1995.

I do not believe that God has called us to work only when we are young, allowing us a life of leisure when we become older. I am not against golf, fishing or any kind of hobby or interest.

But we are to be fruitful at all times, as long as we have the capacity and the strength.

In the ancient Hebrew language, two words do not exist: coincidence and retirement. We are all His workmen and stewards, whether we acknowledge Him or not.

We are to be fruitful at all times, as long as we have the capacity and the strength.

God’s servants do not retire. Friends who know my age usually ask me about my plans for retirement. My standard answer is: “If I retire I am going to miss all my public holidays!”

A guy went home excitedly telling the “good news” to his wife about his impending retirement. The wife asked: “Why are you so happy about your retirement?” Her husband replied: “The reason is that from now on I can stop taking orders from my stupid boss.”

His wife barked back: “I think it is better that you look for another job and continue to work, otherwise you will start taking orders from me.”

 Mark Twain once said: “Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants  to die.”

To many people, death means the end of their hopes and their dreams. It is separation from those they love.

Even Christians are fond of using the superstitious expression “touch wood” when the subject of death is mentioned.

Her countenance changed and she declared with a weak voice in Hokkien: “I am so happy.”

But Christ came to conquer death so that for the Christian, death is not the end.

In John 5:24, Jesus declares that those who believe will cross from death to life. And in John 11:25-26, He assures us of eternal life, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

In February last year my aunt, who was 73 years old and a worshipper of another religion for many years, was facing death.

She was suffering from the final stage of cancer. She had no peace at all. She found God’s peace after accepting Jesus in the presence of her pre-believing relatives.

Her countenance changed and she declared with a weak voice in Hokkien: “I am so happy.”

Both her two children noticed the expression of peace on her face during her last days. Both of them are now in a Mandarin-speaking church and are sharing the good news with friends and relatives.

 Time stays but we fly

We are familiar with the saying, “time flies”, and in no time all of us will grow old or die. I say: “Time stays but we fly.”

Whatever problems we are facing, His presence is always with us.

The Psalmist says in Psalm 90:9-12, “All our days pass away under Your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. The length of our years is seventy years or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass and fly away. Who knows the power of Your anger? For Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due You. Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

Whatever our age is, we are to savour the gift of life and live one day at a time so that worry will not creep into our lives. We have no control over our future but we know He is always in control.

Whatever problems we are facing, His presence is always with us.

“Grey hair is a crown of splendour; it is attained by a righteous life.” (Proverbs 16:31)


This article was first published in the Apr/May 2006 issue of Impact Magazine and has been reproduced with permission. 


FOR MORE STORIES ON AGEING WELL:

Giving God our golden years: 7 tips from seniors who lead the way

“I want to grow old”: 35-year-old Isaiah Chng

Once a “caged bird” with no voice, she is now a 65-year-old fashion model who challenges seniors to get out of their comfort zone

About the author

Benny Ong

Benny Ong is a member of Church of Our Saviour and is a founding director of a financial planning firm. He speaks regularly at churches and conducts seminars for both Christian and business groups in the region. He has contributed numerous articles to The Straits Times, Business Times, The Singapore Exchange Journal and Impact.

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