Two Psalms appear to be written from the perspective of older people: Psalm 37 and 71.
In Psalm 37 we have this thought: “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” In Psalm 71, the writer speaks twice of old age. The first time is verse nine: Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. The second time is in verse eighteen: “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.”
Psalm 71 contains the thoughts of a writer who has lived long enough to experience many mercies of God. He has much to say, and wants to say it, and it’s all about God’s care. More than that though, the writer’s trust and confidence in God has been rewarded so many times that people look to his life as a sign of God’s existence, favor and what can happen when a person believes. That’s what he means when he writes he has been a “portent” to many (vs. 7). This person finds confidence in God easier because he is practiced at it, But as the writer confesses the difficulties he is now in, his confidence in God abounds he and asks simply that he be allowed to live long enough to declare God’s power to the next generation.
The next generation, of course, needs to hear the story, and it needs to hear it from a generation old enough and practiced enough in the life of faith to speak authoritatively and convincingly. It needs to hear from people of faith whose very lives are open enough and shared enough that hearers know their message is true. Think about that the next time you are asked to teach a Bible class. Do understand that the next generation, whether your children or those of others, is depending on you to share a faith story. The story will never seem so real or inviting coming from the lips of the inexperienced.