Preaching of the Old and Grayheaded

Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O god, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. Psalm 71:18, KJV

By no means can I speak here from experience. As I’m writing this, I’m twenty-four years old, and as far as I can tell, there is not yet a gray hair on my head. Frankly, I’m hoping that my hair just falls out rather than taking the time to change color first, but that’s beside the point.

However, here we have the prayer of an unidentified man, possibly David, in anticipation of growing old, as verse 9 and our verse 18 indicate.

Notice what he looks forward to in that old age. He is not praying for a peaceful time of retirement so that he may golf with his fellow Israelites down at the Jerusalem Country Club, nor does he ask for abundant travel expenses to see the world before dies.

In fact, he prays for the complete opposite. He asks the Lord not to overlook him in his old age when there’s work to be done, and what work it is! He asks that he’ll be able to tell the next generation (and even the next thereafter!) of the Lord’s strength, most likely as Redeemer of His people.

As any preacher can tell you, that is no small task. It’s one thing for an evangelist to travel from church to church, preaching the gospel to the saved. It’s something else entirely to tell the redemption story to generations who have not heard it, to those who are ignorant of the Lord’s strength in redeeming.

That is by no means an easy task. Yet it is the one this man asks to be able to continue in even when he’s elderly. Sure he might miss out on many rounds of golf with Buffy & Biff and he may never win at BINGO. Indeed, he might come to be ridiculed and slandered by the next generation for his stand in the truth. He may even be martyred as so many others who would preach that redemption is of the Lord.

Yet still he prays. Lord, let me reach them. Use me, despite my age, to show your strength and to magnify your glory to the young people of this world.

When the time comes, I hope that is my attitude. Today it is my prayer, though I’m of course substituting “bald” for “grayheaded.”

The harvest is only becoming more plentiful. In thirty to forty years, this world is going to need all the old and grayheaded preachers it can. I encourage you if you haven’t already, incorporate this psalmic supplication into your prayers. See you in the fields.

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