Theme: There Is Still Work to Do
In this week’s lessons we are reminded that God has demonstrated his faithfulness in the past, and can be counted on in the future.
Scripture: Psalm 71:1-24
I suppose there are some people who in their old age only look back to the past and are often quite unhappy as they do. They think of what they have had and lost or what they wish they could have had and never did. The present does not mean much to them except as a basis for complaining about their multiplying aches and pains, and they are afraid to look forward. They are afraid of dying.
David’s approach to old age was not like this. For not only did he look to the past to remember God’s goodness and faithfulness to him over the many long years of his life. He also looked to the future in terms of the work yet remaining to be done. He knew that if God had left him in life and had not yet taken him home to be with him in glory, it was because there was work to do. And that work was to testify to the coming generations about God. This led him to say, “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come” (vv. 17, 18).
Someone has said that the Christian Church is always one generation away from extinction, meaning that each generation has the responsibility of passing Christian doctrine to the next. David knew this. It is what he wants to do. But since he is writing about old age, the uniqueness of what he is saying is that older people have a special and peculiar ability to teach the young. This does not mean that they know more than those in middle age do technically. An old deacon does not necessarily know more than his pastor about the Bible’s content. But the old person has lived with God longer and has seen more of God’s faithfulness over many years of life than younger people, however much they may know. Therefore, a person like this is especially well equipped to help the young.
Haven’t you noticed that there is a special natural bond between the elderly and children? The secular world has begun to take advantage of it in nursing homes and kindergartens by bringing people from nursing homes to help care for children in day care centers and other institutions. At Tenth Presbyterian Church we bring older people into the Sunday school, not to teach the regular lessons necessarily—that is often too much for the aged—but to help out, hear the children recite their Bible verses, and assist in other ways. The children love these older people and respect them. It is a good arrangement. It is biblical.
How can the elderly teach us? What advantage do the elderly have?
What unique ways can the elderly serve in your church?
Are you always looking back? Do you dread the future? Are you afraid of dying? What other fears do you have? Pray and ask the Lord for peace and trust, knowing that he promises to take care of his children.
What work lies ahead of you for the Lord? Pray for direction for specific tasks.
Application: What can your church do for the elderly? Who do you know who can teach younger Christians? Make a plan to pass on to others.