Proverbs 16:31

Our Crowns of Splendor*

Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life. Proverbs 16:31

In our new church directory picture, my husband’s brown hair and my dishwater-blonde had been replaced by gray with highlights of white. His hairline had receded in the eight years between pictures, and my fine hair was thinner. Our crinkly smile lines had become permanent wrinkles. So why did we both prefer this new picture?

Neither of us had wanted to go to the photography session. What a waste of time. I hate to have my picture taken. Besides, Ken wore a green shirt and I wore a red blouse. How was that going to look? It wasn’t Christmas.

The photographer must have sensed our moods. He said something funny, addressing our moods so accurately that Ken and I both laughed. Then the photographer snapped the photo—and captured us laughing at ourselves.

As I looked at the picture later, I was struck with its softness. In the earlier picture, we’d both worn typical portrait suits and looked stiff and formal. For the newer picture, I wore my favorite burgundy and black checked blouse, which actually blended well with my husband’s favorite pale olive green cowboy shirt. The colors also complimented our hair. And our hair caught the light and became the “crowns of splendor” mentioned in Proverbs 16:31.

The Israelites believed long life was a sign of God’s blessing. Proverbs 3:1-2 declares that keeping the commands of wisdom in your heart leads to long life and prosperity. Not everybody who has gray hair has lived a righteous life. But Ken and I have–sort of. Our righteousness came from God, given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe (Romans 3:22a).

I won’t “cover the gray with gorgeous color” as the ads advise. I’m grateful for these crowns of splendor with which God is blessing our later years.

How about you? Will you wear the world’s idea of “a crown of splendor” or God’s?


Some translations add the word if to the proverb—“a crown of splendor if attained by a righteous life.” How does that change the proverb?

What is the contrast in Proverbs 20:29? How would you describe gray hair?

In Revelation 1:12-18, How is the resurrected, glorious Jesus Christ described by His disciple John? What do you think this signified?

Nancy J. Baker

* A shorter version of this devotion was published in The Secret Place: Devotions for Daily Worship June 14, 2008.

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