PSALM 71:17-18: “O God, you have taught me ever since I was young, and I still talk about the miracles you have done. Even when I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me live to tell the people of this age what your strength has accomplished, to tell about your power to all who will come.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Are you ready for retirement? If you are young, this question is not even on your mind. If you are older, you think of it often. Have you ever noticed that the television programs that are geared to an older demographic are constantly filled with commercials regarding retirement? They either show someone enjoying themselves on some tropical paradise, or fretting over their investments (or lack thereof). In the end they all ask the same question – “Are you ready for retirement?”
Does a Christian ever retire? I am not talking about coming to the end of a career path and entering into a new phase of life. I am talking about retiring from our walk of faith, from our engagement in service for the Kingdom of God. I am amazed at how many believers take this position in their lives as they get older. I have done my duty, I have given my time, it is the responsibility of the younger generation now. I’m retired! This was a concept that was truly not in the heart of the Psalmist.
The Psalmist recounts how the Lord had graciously taught him and worked miracles in his life since he was young. In fact, the Psalmist declares – “…I still talk about the miracles you have done.” They became an ongoing testimony of his life, and an ongoing motivation for his commitment and service unto the Lord. Then the Psalmist says something quite remarkable. It does not flow from the heart of one who is ready to hand up their hat as they enter the autumn of their life. No! – It flows from a heart that is so filled with praise and gratitude that they want to continue to serve in their later years with the same passion and vigor that they did when they were young.
- “Even when I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me live to tell the people of this age what your strength has accomplished, to tell about your power to all who will come.”
The Psalmist prayer is that the Lord will continue to work in his life so that until the day he takes his last breath he can continue to follow and serve the Lord and proclaim from a living testimony of active faith – “…your power to all who will come!” I have witnessed this in the life of dear saints whom God has placed in my life. One remarkable man of God, Pastor Robert Doorn, 86 years old and still a missionary to the nations. He continues to travel and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and proclaim the wonders and power of God – “…to all who come.”
I have also witnessed this through the lives of dear saints in my church family. In the army of committed volunteers that weekly serve the Lord, shoulder to shoulder we have a multi-generational army of young and old. And it is the old who so many times are leading the way. It is not that they are in “charge” – but that they are living examples and testimonies of the faithfulness of God. They are giving us all a wonderful testimony of the blessedness of one who does not hang up their hat, but stays active in serving the Lord throughout all the seasons of their life. And they are in turn energized and blessed by the love and admiration they receive from the younger among them!
- Isn’t this what a family of faith is supposed to look like?
Lord, I want to echo the prayer of the Psalmist today. As we get older we cannot do many of the things we did when we were young (physically), but we can always continue to grow and thrive in the things You are doing within us (spiritually). May we continue in all the phases of our lives to be faithful in that which You have called us to do, until we hear those blessed words – “Well done thou good and faithful servant!”
In Jesus Name!