My pastor likes to say that getting old isn’t for sissies. I couldn’t agree more. Never mind the physical aspects of growing old, the spiritual pressures can be overwhelming. In my generation we have seen socially both rapid progress and rancid perversion. It’s enough to make an older person just want to retire and fade into the sunset. That would be a waste of much power and prudence.
The writer of Psalm 71 was either old age or at least thinking of growing old when he wrote:
“Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.” (Psalm 71:18)
I love that verse because the psalmist is asking God to allow him to minister to the coming generation by reminding them of God’s great power and strength. Today’s youth are going to need every bit of the Lord to survive.
Subsequently the youth need to understand what a well of wisdom the older generation is and should take all advantage of the sages in their lives. If your father and mother are godly people, then draw close to their friends and make them your friends:
“The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31)
Many a youth mistakenly throw away the great treasure of elders in their lives. There are never any guarantees that our children will follow in our footsteps. Solomon’s wisdom is well documented and yet his son Rehoboam rejected the counsel of his father’s friends:
“Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who stood before his father Solomon while he still lived, and he said, ‘How do you advise me to answer these people?’ And they spoke to him, saying, ‘If you will be a servant to these people today, and serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.’ But he rejected the advice which the elders had given him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him.” (1 Kings 12:6-9)
As you continue to read about King Rehoboam’s reign, you discover that things began going downhill from the point of his rejecting the elders’ advice and taking the advice of “his boys” and become more overbearing than his father.
I wonder if those elders threw up their hands in exasperation and gave up on “those kids.” We of the older generation need to pray for the succeeding generation. It may seem as though God has no more use for your gray head and weary body, but He is just beginning to use you for His glory. Commenting on Psalm 71:18, our old friend Matthew Henry wrote:
“God will not cast off his grey-headed servant when no longer capable of laboring as they have done. The Lord often strengthens His people in their souls, when nature is sinking into decay. And it is a debt which the old disciples of Christ owe to succeeding generations, to leave behind them a solemn testimony to the advantage of religion, and the truth of God’s promises.”
It is my generation that inherited a laissez-faire way of parenting, and because we were in many cases left to our own destruction, two generations have overseen a meteor-like descent into Sodom and Gomorrah. I have no right to walk away from the mess I’ve made of my nation. I must get on my face before God, confess my father’s and my sins, and plead for His mercy:
“We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against You. Do not abhor us, for Your name’s sake; do not disgrace the throne of Your glory.
Remember, do not break Your covenant with us.” (Jeremiah 14:20-21)
Dear older brother and sister-in-Christ: have you given up on this generation? If yes, then they need you. So does your nation. God has left you on earth for a time such as this. You’ve seen much and you need to share it with this generation. Never mind how they receive it. It is your duty to tell them. Leave the results up to the Lord.
He’s got it all under control even when the world seems to be spinning out of control.
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Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers