Psalms 71:17-21 – “God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood, and I have constantly told others about the wonderful things you do. 18 Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. 19 Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God? 20 You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. 21 You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.” NLT
Recently I was talking to a couple of twenty-something people and they were complaining that their pastor was old and out of touch with modern times. They even stated that, in their view, once a person was past sixty (60) they should no longer serve as a pastor because they were unable to relate to the younger crowd. I found that both disturbing and amusing and took the opportunity to share some insight both from the Bible and experience, myself having surpassed that discard age they were speaking of.
This Psalm has brought comfort, encouragement, joy, and challenge to me for a long time and even more so as I grow older. I asked them if they knew the story of Moses and how God used him to lead Israel out of Egyptian bondage. They needed to be reminded of the three divisions of Moses’ life – 40 years learning in Egypt, 40 years maturing in the wilderness – 40 years doing God’s work in leading His people. His full ministry didn’t begin until age 80. They were speechless.
I asked about the story of Abraham and how at 100 years old he bore the son who would become the father of the people through whom our Savior came into this world. They were silenced. I asked them about Caleb when Israel was led into the promised, land by Joshua, and he at eighty plus took the mountain as his possession. They had nothing to say.
I quoted them from Job 12:12 – “Wisdom is with aged men, with long life is understanding.” Also, Proverbs 16:31 – “A gray head is a crown of glory…” At that point, I asked them if they felt that their life experiences had taught them as much as their pastor’s life experiences or if he had possibly learned some things along the way that could be of benefit to them.
One of them, with tears glistening in her eyes, said, “I never thought of it that way. I have been so wrong.” I asked them to consider their own parents and grandparents and asked, “Do you want to discard them when they reach old age or now that they have become seasoned citizens?” Should we just provide a place for everyone over sixty (60) to be taken hidden away!
I confess that many of us who are older do not know the lingo, keep up with the modern music, drink the modern Kool-Aid, dance to the modern beat, sing the modern songs, or think with the modern progressive mentality. Some of us have built “memorial stones” along the way to help keep us on course and we’ve seen troubles and difficulties. We have fought battles and learned through suffering and want to never forget the goodness of God through it all.
For those of you who are older, God is nowhere near through with you. Your experiences in life are so valuable and need to be shared with the generations who have followed you. Your wisdom needs to be proclaimed. They may not listen but at least you can plant the seeds of knowledge and trust God to send another to water them and trust Him to send the sunlight and warmth to cause those seeds to grow.
So I challenge and urge you to treasure your years and wear them as a badge of honor and consider them a reminder of your opportunity if not obligation to press ever onward and upward, leading all who will follow and teaching all who will listen of the Glory of God’s Goodness! Your gray head is not a sign of becoming valueless but a sign of value! Old age (years) is not the problem, growing old in your mind (mentality) is.
I treasure what I learned from my elders and want to pass on what I’ve learned to those following my footsteps. I’m not an old man I am a man in whom God has deposited years of life more priceless than silver or gold. I have value and know it! I have something to share and share it! I refuse to just fade away when there is so much to share and so little time to share it.
Therefore, I encourage each of you, older or younger to learn to value life and refuse to allow a moment of it to be wasted. LIVE IT! LOVE IT! SHARE IT!
I pray the blessings of God upon each of you and may you have a marvelous day in Jesus!