2017 ArticlesLooking Out My Window

Looking Out My Window – The Next Generation

Looking out my window today provides a different view. Instead of looking outside, I’m sitting in a church office looking out a window leading to a hallway. This is a different perspective. While I’ve spent a number of years in ministry, I find myself doing some different things now. One includes working with young adults. The most exciting aspect of working with this age group revolves around the fact that young adults are what we can refer to as the “Next Generation”.

Throughout Scriptures we discover God is always concerned about “the next generation”. One issue we have in society today revolves around what I refer to as the passing of the baton. Unfortunately the passing of the baton between generations usually goes poorly. But, we can’t place all the blame on one particular generation. Through the years the next generation – or the younger generation – has not given the respect due to the current generation in places of leadership. Instead of entering into a mentoring position, often times the younger generation attempts to grab or seize power from the older generation. However, we cannot place all the blame on the younger generation. Many times those currently in places of leadership simply don’t want to let go of the reigns. It’s kind of like the phrase made famous by Charlton Heston; I’ll give it up “when you pry it from my cold dead hands”.

How do we pass the baton well? We find a number of examples in the Bible of mentoring the next generation and eventually passing the baton in a powerful way. In John 14 Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Me will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father”. Why can His disciples do “greater things”? Because He passed the baton well. When the baton is passed from one generation to the next, the following generation not only benefits from their own life journey, but also from lessons learned from those who mentor them. The older generation spends time encouraging them to move forward in their purpose and destiny.

A few other examples of “passing the baton well” include Moses to Joshua, Elijah to Elisha and Levi to Samuel in the Old Testament. In the New Testament we have Jesus passing the baton to His disciples which I mentioned earlier. There’s also the example of Paul passing the baton to both Timothy and Titus. As Paul encouraged these young leaders he outlined what we can call five “You Can Count On This” sayings…

  1.  Jesus is the Centre – 1 Timothy 1:12-16
  2. Others May…We May Not – 1 Timothy 3:1-13
  3. Keep At It – 1 Timothy 4:6-16
  4. Throw Yourself Into The Work – 2 Timothy 2:1-19
  5. Be Bighearted and Courteous – Titus 3:1-11

In these five sayings Paul encourages Timothy and Titus to be firm in their faith in Jesus. He outlines moral and integrity standards and also encourages these young adults to keep at it when the going gets tough and to throw themselves into the work. Finally, he reminds them to always be bighearted and courteous. In his closing words to Timothy in his first letter, Paul encourages this young man he’s trained up to “pursue a righteous life – a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:11-12).

A couple weeks ago I actually shared the above five points with a group of young adults under the title of “Getting The Most Out Of Life”. While Paul wrote those words to two young leaders, it’s worth noting they’re not just for young adults. If you’re looking to get the most of life, Paul’s words can help you along the way as well.

Looking Out My Window is a regular column in the Northumberland Todaynewspaper located in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada.

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