St. Jude’s Church
Growing Old by the Grace of God
Reading: Psalm 71: 1 – 14
Scripture: “My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all day long. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength is spent…” (Psalm 71: 8 – 9)
Reflection: How many timeshave you heard a friend, acquaintance or family member claim that now they are old and retired, they have the right to complain. But, in theBible, there are many stories of God using and blessing the elderly. Think of Anna, (Luke 2: 36-38) the prophetess, a model of what the elderly believer could be. She was a widow, 84 years old who did not complain about the trials she had experienced in her life. Instead, she remained there in the temple, fasting and praying and giving thanks to God.
In this version of Psalm 71, verses 8 and 9 always make me wonder whether they should be joined by the conjunction, ‘so’, because it almost seems as if the psalmist is seeking a bargain, asking God to cut him a deal, to look out for him, especially as he praised God all day, of every day. Scripture teaches us, however, that God does not intend for us to retire from spiritual activity as He wants us to bear fruit for Him. And, we can be sure that He would not keep us here if He didn’t have worthwhile work for us to do. Yes, our positions may change, but there is always the call to live a righteous life, pray continually and encourage and inspire others.
Later in the psalm, the psalmist declares that he has been around for some time and he will continue to declare and praise God’s marvellous works as he has done since his youth. For, even when he is old and grey, the Lord will not desert or forsake him, so he would choose to be involved in proclaiming the truth of God’s Word to those who needed it most and to declare His power to the next generation. The psalmist, perhaps more than most, knows only too well that it is God’s grace that has brought him to where he is, having walked with him through the midst of life’s challenges, fand helped him face the trials and temptations, which could lead him away from the Lord, perhaps, even unto death.
As we too recall God’s faithfulness, and claim His promises for the present, we also sing His praises for He has been there with us, always guiding us and enabling us to walk in His way. This gives us hope. For surely, God’s working, enabling and guiding us in the past, is proof that He is with us now and will be there in the future and we can continue to enjoy the love of God which is offered to us, freely. Life has its challenges and hardships but God is at work in all the circumstances so that we can grow to become more like Him; everything we face is an opportunity to seek to have Him live through us. We have His blessing which enables us to live a long life; to enjoy His help and deliverance through the trials of life and guidance for living through this life. But, this blessing only comes to us if we walk in obedience to His Word in every facet of our lives.
We are children of God who walk in the will of the Lord and, in our old age, produce fruit which glorifies God, by proclaiming a message which enables those in this world to see the holiness of God. If we who are in Christ live long, it is God who is giving life. As elderly Christians, we proclaim the goodness and righteousness of God so those around us may see clearly, that is the difference between knowing Jesus Christ and knowing about Christ.
Meditation: “God planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical. But the strength and beauty of age is spiritual.” (Robert McQuilkin)
Prayer: Lord,help us to be wise and lean on You so we can withstand the trials, pain and sorrow in our lives. Amen.
The St. Jude’s Writers
St. Jude’s Church
Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands
30 March 2021