Christians should not be intimidated by the future. Rather, we ought to live our lives in such a way that we exert the greatest impact upon it. And one of the best ways to influence the days to come is to invest your life in the people who will be living and leading in the future: the next generation.
We often hear of a generational gap between the young and old. Young people often reject the values and lifestyle of their parents while the older generation is bewildered by the choices the younger generation is making. Yet in God’s eyes, what He initiates in one generation, He often completes in the generations that follow.
When God began the work of rescuing the Israelites from Egypt, notice how He spoke to Moses: “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6).
Why do you think God introduced himself to Moses this way?
How would this have encouraged Moses?
It was important for Moses to realize that God had initiated, hundreds of years earlier, the enormous work He intended to accomplish through Moses. And, after Moses was gone, God would continue His purposes through the next generation led by Joshua.
It was crucial, therefore, that Moses not only faithfully serve God in his own generation but that he teach the following generation how to obey God as well. It has been said that we are only one generation removed from total paganism. It is incumbent upon us to teach the next generation how to walk with God.
Read the following verses and note how people’s actions affected the following generation:
- Joshua 4:1-7
- Judges 2:10-11
- Judges 8:33-35
- 1 Samuel 2:12-17
- 1 Samuel 8:1-5
- 2 Samuel 7:12-
- 1 Kings 11:11-13
- 1 Kings 11:34
Did you notice the dramatic way our lives can affect the next generation? Joshua and the Israelites made stone markers on the banks of the Jordan River so they could teach their children about God’s amazing provision for them. The Psalmist declared: “We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done” (Psalm 78:4).
What are some ways you can recite to the next generation the mighty acts of God in your life?
What are some “memorial stones” you could establish in your home and life to remind others of God’s goodness?
Did you detect that when people walked faithfully with God, He chose to bless their descendants? Conversely, when people sinned, their children and grandchildren suffered the consequences. Sadly, some people, like Eli, Samuel, David and Solomon, were so busy leading God’s people that they neglected to raise up their own children to follow the Lord.
Eli’s and Samuel’s children were so wicked that they harmed their generations rather than blessing them. David’s sin resulted in violence permeating his household. Solomon’s son lost most of his kingdom because of his father’s sin. We cannot remain indifferent to how we live our lives, for they can cause great suffering for those who come after us.
Read Proverbs 20:7. Then list some ways you can do this in your life.
The Apostle Paul understood that his life on earth would be brief, so he needed to do everything he could to exert the maximum impact for God’s Kingdom. Read the following verses and note what Paul did:
- Acts 13:5
- Acts 16:1-3
- 1 Timothy 4:12-16
- 2 Timothy 2:1-2
Paul worked hard to preach the Gospel, plant churches and disciple believers throughout his Christian life. Yet he also intentionally invested in the next generation. He took young men like John, Mark and Timothy with him on his mission trips so they could continue the work long after he no longer could.
When Timothy grew discouraged by the carnality of the people in the church, Paul encouraged him in how to correct them. Oh, that every Christian young man or woman had a Paul to cheer them on when times grew difficult!
List the names of young people whom you are currently encouraging in the faith.
List several practical ways you can encourage the next generation of Christians.
Make a plan for this week to encourage the next generation to love and serve the Lord with all their hearts.
You can make an impact on the future! Write a note to encourage your grandchildren. Don’t pass a young person in your church without smiling and telling them how glad you are that they are at your church. Pray for your youth minister and his ministry. The possibilities are endless! Start impacting the future today!