Monday, October 2, 2017
Psalm 92:12-15 12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, 15 to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
As a fisherman, I have become very aware of the significance of colors. Colors have meaning. For example, a fad that developed a few years ago is to use red hooks, because supposedly it simulates the bleeding of the bait, indicating an easy meal for the fish. Artificial lures are now being painted with red dots behind the gills for the same reason. In crystal clear water this may work, but overall this is a marketing gimmick, because anyone with any knowledge of color and water knows that as depth increases and light diminishes, the first color to become invisible is red. What good will a red hook do in 30 feet of murky water? But the stores are sure selling a lot of them.
Colors have significant meaning in our lives as well. When we are feeling down we are _______. Right, blue. That makes no sense to me because blue is the color of the sky and how can anyone be down when looking up. Grey would make more sense to me because it’s the color of clouds that hide the beauty of the blue sky.
We use colors to control traffic at intersections, and their meanings have carried over into other areas of our lives as well. Red means danger or warning, do not proceed. We use it to signify emergency vehicles. Yellow means caution and grabs our attention. It is used in advertising and marketing to get us to notice something. We have combined red and yellow to produce orange, which is used for hunting clothing because of its extreme visibility. We use green to signify that all things are good and we may proceed. Green is the color of life and vitality. It is the color God chose to display life in His creation.
As we get older, the meaningfulness and usefulness of our lives is brought into question, sometimes by society and sometimes by friends and family. As our hair turns grey, so do our emotions. As our physical abilities diminish, people put up red lights for us to stop us from participating in activities we still long to do. The realization of potential danger causes us to become more grey. Society has begun to devalue old age. We try everything we can to avoid getting older, feeling older, and especially looking older. What happened to the days when grey hair was considered a sign of wisdom and maturity, and it garnered respect from others?
But in the social strata of God’s kingdom the color of old age is green. God has chosen to provide continuing nourishment for the aging and produce the sweetest harvests from the aged. It is in old age that God promises we will continue to bear fruit and we will stay fresh and green.
There is some significance, I believe, to God using the fruit of the vine as a metaphor for our spiritual lives. Throughout Scripture grapes and wine are used to indicate bounty and vitality. And it is the oldest and best kept vines that produce the best grapes. In fact, until the vines are fully mature and have been sufficiently pruned and shaped, the grapes aren’t even used.
So it is with our lives. As we grow older, we become more productive in bearing fruit that really matters – the fruit of eternal significance. We become less distracted by the things of the world. Its weeds can no longer choke us out. All the things that competed for our time and energy and disrupted our priority system have lost their significance compared to knowing God and bearing eternal fruit for the Master Gardener of our souls. We now see with eyes of wisdom that all we called green in our youth was not green at all, but really yellow, orange, and red. If only the youth would listen to the wisdom of the aged, rather than pushing them aside as those who interfere with their fun.
Take heart, you who are aged. You are still green. You are still bearing fruit. In fact, these are to be your best and most productive years in preparation for God’s eternal kingdom. Let the young see you stand tall like a palm tree during the worst storms of life. Let the young see your true strength which is the result of growing in God like a cedar tree. Stay involved. Be a leader. Take on a ministry. Become a mentor. Teach the young. They need to see what real green looks like.