Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.
As I sat down to meditate on this verse, two thoughts immediately rose to mind …
First I thought, “‘Old and grey,’ I can’t relate to that, I’m still young!” In reality, I am approaching 51, which to some is old.
Second, I briefly pondered, rather contradictorily to my first thought, “I’m too old to make a difference.” Thankfully, I know this second precept is false and quickly refocused to “how can I show someone God today?”
When it comes to age, everything is relative.
If we are still here, God has a reason. Eighteen, fifty-one, or eighty-one, we have a purpose. And at each age, respectively, we do not feel old. Further, no matter our age, we all know people we consider old. They are active all around us, quietly present, often as teachers, or youth leaders through scouts and church; adults well past the age of “retirement” but remaining involved because they love the way they impact youth in a positive, active way.
My 84-year-old next-door-neighbor still proudly puts on his scout uniform and goes camping, canoeing, and leading boys as a positive role model. He loves interacting with youth, teaching them through his experiences. He has an arsenal of stories he shares with the boys on these trips. As a bonus for me, he always has a story to share with me after these trips. Every story has a moral. He always incorporates an “aha” moment into his stories, and those moments always point to God.
Thinking about it, anyone I respect as an elder has a never-ending supply of stories, all with life values and morals sewn directly into the plot. These are the people God leaves here the longest, people who have woven a life story worthy of sharing with the next generation as a learning tool. These are people with enough self-esteem to humble themselves for the benefit of introducing someone to a Godly life through a story of their own life, complete with trials and tribulations, fumbles and foils. These are people who introduce a person to God, using their own story, but with the focus off of them and on God.
Remember, no matter your age, someone younger desires to learn what you know, and someone older wants to teach you his or her knowledge. Relationships, especially intergenerational relationships based on mutual interests, keep society going. As Christians, we must continue to build such relationships to keep God’s story thriving through us.