Psalm 71:18 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.
It is a simple fact of human nature that when we are young we don’t think much about “the next generation.” Young people tend to be reckless because they don’t believe their own mortality, but older people can be overly cautious because they are extremely aware of their mortality. The simple fact of the matter is that none of us are here forever. That time might be short or long. Just yesterday we were notified of the death of a friend’s infant at just over six months, as well as of a different friend’s father at 94. As has been said, death is very much part of life. The point is simply how we spend the time. In reference to the way birth dates and death dates are often inscribed with a dash between them on tombstones, that has been expressed as “how we spend the dash.” This Psalmist is very aware of his mortality, as well of his responsibility and privilege of telling those who will outlive him of the things he has learned about God. It has been said that we don’t have time to make all the mistakes ourselves, so we’d better learn from the mistakes of others. In the same way, we don’t all experience God in the same ways or through the same circumstances, so we do well to learn from how others have encountered Him. That’s a major part of what the Bible is all about. As wonderful as the Bible is, every one of us has unique experiences of God that will benefit others to know about them. Reading the Bible is one thing, but hearing people’s encounters with God in person is another. We aren’t all to write books, but we are all to share what God has done for us. I personally think that one of the joys of heaven will be sharing and hearing all the wonderful stories of God’s grace and faithfulness. After all, we’ll have eternity to do it in! Even so, doing that while it will encourage, strengthen and guide those who are still going through stuff is our present responsibility and privilege.
I’ve been encouraged repeatedly to write an autobiography, and I may do it yet, but I question who would read it. However, I have already experienced the joy of seeing others be blessed by what I have shared of my experiences with God. Personal testimony is of vital importance. My father’s biography came out almost a year ago, and I have heard of numbers of people being blessed by it, but I still think that person-to-person communication is most effective. My hesitation in that is that I don’t want to come across as bragging, because I am sharply aware of my own weaknesses and failures. That said, I do want to brag on God! I want to tell people how patient and gracious and faithful He is, without giving them the impression that it doesn’t matter how they live. I really think the Gospel could be summarized as, “We’re a mess, but God’s wonderful.” I want everyone to know that, so that they too may repent and believe for their salvation, and God’s glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Recently I’ve been telling people that Your blessings just never stop. However, that’s been true all my life! Help me be effective in communicating Your truth, so that more and more may receive it and be set free, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!