Jump Start # 2398
Psalms 78:4 “We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.”
God is good. That thought echoes throughout the book of Psalms, from our hymnbooks and from deep within our hearts. God has treated us better than we deserve. He has been more patient with us that most of us would have been. God is kind. God is generous. God blesses. God forgives. These are truths and principles that we hold dear to our faith. Ours is not a faith in the church, but in the Lord of Heaven and earth. It is not within us, but from God that comes our help and our salvation.
Our passage today is set in a series of generations. It is a legacy passage. Our fathers have told us, the verse before states. And, now, we will tell the generation to come. We will pass the baton on. The keys that have been handed to us, will now be shared with those who come after us. I am a part of four living generations. That’s special. Some can even stretch it to five or maybe six generations. People before me and people after me. And, the common thread that runs through all of this is that we are family.
It’s one thing to look backwards through your family. We call that ancestry, or tracing your roots. I can go back to the late 1600’s. Lots of names. Lots of people. And, with most, there are a few characters, or black sheep, in that ancestry. Just about every family tree has a few nuts, some more than others. Looking backwards is one thing, but our verse talks about looking forward. The generation to come. The little ones need to be taught. The littles ones someday won’t be little. And, as we have been taught, so we must teach them. There is a flow running through this passage. Past-present-future. The hope we have for the future lies in the new generation learning and knowing the Lord. The wondrous works of the Lord must be shared with the generation to come.
Here are some thoughts:
At home: little ones need to learn to pray. They need to learn to pray with respect and honor to God. At first, they may thank the Lord for butterflies, dandelions, cotton candy and Pop tarts. That’s cute. In time, parents need to guide them into deeper thoughts and praying about people and learning to give thanks. How this is done is by parents praying after the little ones. You hear their prayers and then they hear your prayers. Sometimes it is good to make a suggestion or to give them a name to include in their prayers. Using popsicle sticks to write names on and then randomly drawing those from a jar is a way to keep prayers fresh and directed.
Get your child their own Bible. At first, it may need to have more pictures than words, but teach them the stories. Help them understand how special the Bible is and why it is different from all other books. Teach them to take care of their Bible.
Talk about worship when you get home. Talk about the songs you sang. Talk about the lesson. Talk about Bible classes. Help your child to see that God is not kept in the church building and when we leave, we are not done with God until next week. As you travel about, sing songs that are spiritual in nature. I’ve seen little ones rolling that Gospel chariot along, and you can barely understand what they are saying, but you can tell they are getting it.
At worship: bring Bible based books for the little ones to look at. Keep the toys at home. Keep the food at home, unless they are very little. I’ve sadly seen teenagers stuffing song book racks with discarded potato chip bags that grandma brought for them. That’s not helping the next generation. There is a difference between what we do at a ball game and what we do in worship. The sooner you get to teaching that the better.
As the children get older, bring notebooks for them to take notes in. If the preacher has fill-in-the-blank note cards, help your child with his. He may not fully understand what he is writing, but lessons are being taught. So many congregations today use powerpoint for the songs and that’s a wonderful tool. But I remember my wife taking out the song book and following the song along with her finger as our children watched and sang. That taught them many things, from reading, to music, to knowing our hymns, to praising God. Telling the generation to come.
I’ve seen some parents hand their child a quarter or dollar to drop in the collection plate. That’s nice, but that really didn’t teach them much, especially if they are getting about school age. All that shows is that dad hands me money and I drop it in. Wouldn’t it be better to have your child do some work around the house and get a “paycheck.” From that, they have money that must be saved, money that will be given on Sunday, and money to spend. Many lessons are being taught that way. Telling the generation to come.
We must realize that if we do not tell them, then they will not know. They won’t learn the truth about God from school, friends, or Youtube. They will know about God, but likely, it won’t be the truth. Teaching the generation to come takes time. It takes patience. It takes a love for them and a love for the Lord.
Have you ever been in a relay race? All it takes is for one person to drop the baton, and everything falls apart. A team can go from first to last, just like that, when one drops the baton. It is essential spiritually that we make sure that we are not dropping that baton. It was handed to us. Now, we must handed to others.
Let’s get busy…there is a generation that needs us.