I have an old silver-colored aluminum pitcher that I inherited from my mother who inherited it from her mother. I remember drinking ice water from it as a child. The condensation would bead up on the outside and run down, making the water seem even colder than it was. I drew pictures on the side of it with my finger, relishing the ice-cold touch.
The pitcher doesn’t look new anymore. It has been bumped and banged as it survived years of use by children and adults alike. It has been packed and unpacked and has traveled around the southeastern United States. There are some dents, and the finish isn’t what it once was. I love that pitcher, though, and it is still useful to me.
I use it for watering plants or taking water to the dog these days. My grandchildren use it as well. There are no leaks, and the pointed spout is perfect for nosing between plant leaves when watering.
I thought about that pitcher as I sat in the congregation at a funeral for a dear friend recently. I looked around at the people, and there were many that I had known since childhood. I attended showers and weddings for them and for their children. I have cried with them and rejoiced with them. The faces of these people are dear to me, but many are not young anymore. They have dents and bruises from life lived. The lines in their faces speak of miles traveled and work done. They have survived sorrow and illness and tragedy through the years and many of them are tired, but they are still treasured by and useful to God.
In our humanness, we tend to think that usefulness lives only with the young and strong. We celebrate beauty and agility, and we sometimes downplay the value of those who are aged or infirm. Our youth-centered culture has given age a bad name.
God, however, treasures the aged. His love continues through the failing of body and mind. His heart holds close those who have walked through the trials of this life with Him and proven themselves faithful in the storms. He looks well beyond the outward appearance and sees the heart.
Proverbs 16:31 The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness. NKJV
Leviticus 19:32 You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. ESV
I look at my silver pitcher and smile as I water the plants on the porch. I smile because I know that God can use the old and battered just the same as He can use the young and strong. His promises do not fade with age, and His faithfulness is everlasting.
Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.