What Will We Teach the Next Generation?
It’s about that time to gently pull the silver goblets out of the china cabinet passed down from your great-grandmother, and the homemade, construction paper turkeys with relatives names on them for place settings. It’s time to flip through the recipe box to pull out the pumpkin pie and stuffing balls recipes your Gran wrote out for you years ago that she learned from her grandmother.
And even though you use the same decorations and dishes, and eat from the same Thanksgiving menu year after year, you’d be a little sad if you didn’t carry on at least one tradition.
They go back generation after generation.
Generation. There’s power in that word.
It dates back to the beginning of recorded time when God instructed Moses how to carry on traditions of worship and sacrifice and celebrations so future generations will remember what God did for them generations earlier.
God tells us through His Word over one hundred times to pass along His promises and truth to the next generation.
Back in the “old days” when God’s Truth was heard through word of mouth because there weren’t books then like today. They’d be sitting in their tent eating dinner together, telling the children stories about God passing over the slaves in Egypt and saving their lives. She’d be walking to the river to draw water and talking with her friend about God the Provider who gave her ancestors manna each day to feed them. She’d invited neighbors over and cook a special feast on special days as a reminder of the land God promised and gave to her relatives years ago.
They lived out their words: “We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.” Psalm 78:4
God wants us to continue speaking of his love and sacrifice and redemption to the next generation.
But we’ve been spoiled. We have the Bible filled with all the stories inside one cover or a computer screen or carried in our pockets on a phone. We can read them to our hearts content.
And that’s what I’ve done. More often than go out and tell someone else the stories.
The years and centuries and generations have gone by and God’s Word hasn’t disappeared. That’s because they were told, then recorded on paper and then bound into books. People read, wrote, and told about Him. Sculptures carved, paintings painted, and churches formed. Meals cooked, clothes sewn, and songs written about what they learned from generations past.
A few days ago I was talking with the girls in our online Bible study and we got on topic of traditional hymns that were written and sung years ago and continue to today. Most of us in the group though sing more contemporary songs at church worship and on the radio but we know those hymns because they were part of our childhood memories. A few said they remember listening to their grandmothers playing the piano and singing (or as one said, “belting it out loud, way off key”), “Great is Thy faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I see.”
They did their job. They passed to their next generation the love and truth of God. They sang God’s Word (Lamentations 3:22-23) to their grandchildren.
So what do we do now? What do we pass along to our children? Are we telling them about God’s love and teaching them to have a servant heart like Jesus’ or are we too busy taking them to every extra curricular activity that’s possible? What do I talk with my girlfriends about? The latest pins on Pintrest or how I’ve seen God in the midst of my life situations?
I need to be so cautious because I can get sucked into worldly living and rush and leave God only for Sunday morning ritual and as that happens, the next generation is robbed of God’s blessings and promises.
What will we teach the next generation? How will we tell them about God’s Truth? How will we spread the Good News and promises God will never break? How will we display our gratitude to the Giver of all things?
One story told at a time. One conversation spoken at a time. One text message sent at a time.
Tell a friend who’s struggling with a situation a Bible verse that brings you hope. Write an encouraging note in a card to a co-worker who feels like she’s drowning with responsibilities. Pray over your children as you tuck them in at night. Post a comment on social media how God answered a prayer.
That’s just a few ways our generations can continue God’s Word to the next generation.
God wants us to be the generation that displays, teaches and lives out God’s Word the way He specifically created us to live with talents and passions so they can learn and see to be able to display, teach and live out God’s Word for their next generation.
“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”