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One generation at a time

The Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel for his own special treasure. — Psalm 135:4

It is hardly a coincidence that some of today’s great baseball players are the children of former baseball legends, that many top stock car drivers are the sons and granddaughters of the original stock car pioneers, that the sons of former heavyweight boxing champions are now earning a living in the ring, or even that some of our best preachers are preachers’ kids.

It is beyond question that one generation can pass on interest and passion, knowledge and discipline, to the next generation. The choices of each generation can have a lasting and profound impact.

What is true then in the natural world is certainly true of the spiritual realm. There is a certain expectation in Scripture that spiritual heritage will be treasured by each generation and transmitted to the next. The psalm writer said, “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).

This injunction states an expectation that each generation will be conversant with the stories about God’s dealings with the human race and that they will treasure these stories enough to pass them on. There is also the assumption that each generation will be interested enough in the well-being of the rising generation to take time to nurture them in the things of the Spirit.

Each generation should recognize the importance of communication from the older to the younger if there is to be any continuity of principles, priorities, and lifestyle values in any given society.

Sadly, in contemporary culture many young people have minimal contact with their elders but have maximum interaction with their peers. The result is a subculture with little or no sense of history or heritage, of transcendent values or spiritual realities.

It has been said that the Christian faith is never more than one generation away from extinction. This may be an alarmist statement, but there is an element of truth in it.

There are cultures in the Western world at the present time that have seen a progressive decline in spiritual nurture over three generations to such an extent that these cultures, which were previously strongholds of the faith, are now post-Christian societies—mission fields as dark as any primitive society.

The answer to such a threat is simple: every parent who brings a child into the world should accept the privilege and responsibility of seeing that the child is given a working knowledge of the Lord, His dealings with mankind, His offer of salvation, and the joys of living in vital communion with Him.

No one can guarantee the next generation will come to faith, but everyone can make sure they have the chance.

For further study: Psalm 135

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.