Blessing Multiple Generations
One of the everyday blessings of my life is the fact that I get to interact with individuals from multiple generations. Throughout a week’s time, I engage with everyone from infant age all the way up to individuals in their nineties. That interaction between the generational ages is a joy that is easy for us to skim over, but one we must not neglect. Scripture encourages us to look beyond our own generation into the future in terms of how we can have an impact for the kingdom. Proverbs 13:22 says:
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.” -Proverbs 13:22
Applying this passage would encourage us to look at exactly how we can bless the generations after us. Obviously, this would include passing on faith in Christ first and foremost. That must be the central point and the cornerstone. However, it does not end there. A parent has a responsibility to also teach their kids how to function in life, guide them with a work ethic to provide for their own family one day, and ultimately teach them how to honor the Lord with the gifts He has given to them. Point being, there is a tangible investment between the generations that this passage is calling for the good man to work at in his life. Both physically and spiritually, this man’s life leaves an impact that extends well beyond his own days. He is involved intergenerationally to impact those who come after him for the Lord. However, Proverbs also counsels young individuals to seek the guidance of their father and not despise their mother when she is old (Proverbs 23:22). Consequently, the intergenerational relationship calls upon those who need wisdom to come and get it beckoning them to welcome the aged who are wise. All of this proves a vital point, we need interaction between the generations!
Generational Blessing in The Local Church
Whenever I call for intergenerational relationships I am not saying there is not an appropriate time and place to meet with those of your own age. I have meals and spend time with many men in my own age group as well as both those younger and older than myself. There is no need for exclusivity in any way here. That being said, the New Testament does discuss the joy of this relationship between the generations. It mentions the older training the younger (Titus 2:2-6). We certainly see an example of that in Paul who guided Timothy and Titus as young ministers in the faith. There is a twofold blessing. The younger learn and grow from those who are biblically wise having much experience. Simultaneously, those who are older are given the encouragement of youthful energy walking right alongside of them. It warms their heart to see young individuals eager to learn more about Christ and apply His Word in their lives.
One of the great tragedies in the local church of the modern era is that many have totally forgotten about this aspect of life together. Too often, the generations are boxed off in their own age group having little to no interaction with one another. Again, I have no issue with this in certain circumstances (i.e. gathering young mothers for a fellowship together or a bunch of young people going to a basketball game). I am saying that we need to renew again in the life of the church a desire for the generations to influence one another. It is good for old men to teach a fatherless young man how to shake a person’s hand, look someone in the eye, and undergo fair business dealings. Older women need to teach Christ to young mothers and guide them as to how they can nurture their children in the Lord from the infant stage through adulthood. Those who are younger in the church need to come to workdays and use their strength to help the aged accomplish what needs to be done. They need to be willing to invest in those older than themselves and be a blessing to them. Everyone benefits biblically from this experience of all the generations pursuing life together.
I had the blessing of being raised in the church and a Christian home. It has been commonplace for me to interact with individuals six or more decades older than myself. Additionally, I would have friends my own age and younger. The impact of this experience has proved invaluable over the course of my life. Working side by side with a Christian man in his 70s who has a relentless work ethic from his days in the concrete industry influences how a young man learns to work. Spending time with seasoned pastors guides a person to learn from both their mistakes and successes if they are willing to share them. I am not simply applying biblical doctrine in cold isolation from reality throughout this post. This is something I have actually seen the impact of over my entire life because it is something that God reveals to be powerful in His Word.
Let us again as a church take up the torch of passing on the faith between the generations. For those who are older, this reality means you need to be intentional about investing in conversation with the younger folks in your life. Ask them how their life is going, offer to pray for them, and be there for them as much as you can. For all of you who are on the younger side of the spectrum, step outside of your comfort zone and go take someone decades older than you to lunch. Ask their life story, pick their brain, and just enjoy a good discussion. Grey hair should mean wisdom, but it does not always. So, pick well who you seek out to learn from in your life and always be ready to sift everything by the standard of Scripture. Then, pass on what you learn to the generations after you so that you can pass on the relay torch with faithfulness after you are gone.