Jump Start # 3409
Psalms 37:26 “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.”
A few years ago I presented a series of lessons called, “Ten Things.” The sermons were simple practical things that we often need to be reminded of. The series included, “Ten things to know before you get married; “ “Ten things to remember about gossip;” “Ten things to tell your teens;” “Ten things that will make a difference in your marriage.” One of those lessons was titled, “Ten things older Christians need to tell younger Christians.”
Sometimes that generational gap in a congregation can cause friction, ill feelings and resentment. The older folks don’t trust the younger ones. They are suspicious of change. And the younger ones think the older ones are hopelessly stuck in the past. The fellowship and relationship and bonds that cross generational lines will go a long way in building a strong church. Encouragement to build friendships based upon Christ, not age, will strengthen a church.
Ten things older Christians need to tell younger Christians:
1. We love you and you are important to us
2. Our tradition is special to us because it brings fond memories and a closeness to the Lord.
3. We are sorry that the world is in such a mess that it is
4. Our concerns and our warnings are because we do not want you to be hurt
5. We want to leave this church better and stronger for you
6. Your encouragement means a lot to us
7. We are here to help you any time
8. The Lord is always near if you walk with Him
9. Don’t wait until you are our age to get started
10. You can do great things with the Lord
Each of those ten things listed could be expanded upon. Young Christians need encouragement. They need to be guided. The experience of older Christians can help so much. Our passage is a great reminder of that. Raising a family, paying a mortgage, running busy schedules and keeping close to the Lord is something that older Christians have done. They have had to race home, grab a bite to eat and then head off to the church building. We’ve balanced family life, careers, taking care of aging parents, and working in the kingdom. The stress, worries and troubles that have come along have made us walk closer to the Lord.
Titus was instructed to have older women encourage younger women. The older men, Titus was told, were to be a example of godliness. And, much too often, this is where the connections break and come apart. Generational tensions can strain relationships and fellowship.
Here are some suggestions:
First, there is a difference between what the Lord says and my opinion about things. We need to learn that difference. Solomon said, there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. Knowing the time is essential. Long ago the experts told young mothers to never lay their babies on their backs. Later on, other experts said it was good to lay babies on their backs. And, along comes mom and grandma with all the answers for a young mother. “We always did it this way,” often doesn’t set well with a mother who has been told differently by her pediatrician.
Pushing your opinions often pushes the limits of what one can tolerate. Your grown children may do things differently than you do. You may not like the way that they decorate the house. You may not like their eating habits, sleeping habits, tastes in decoration or a host of other things. Unless it is Biblically wrong, you must learn to watch what you say. A person can be weird and go to Heaven. A person can be odd and go to Heaven. But unless they are doing something that will keep them out of Heaven, grandma and mom must keep their opinions unless they are asked.
Second, younger Christians need to realize that the older generations have been through all kinds of national and international gloom and doom. There have been wars, disasters, trouble and turmoil. They have weathered the ups and downs of an economy. They have seen housing markets explode and collapse. And there is a sense of wisdom, experience and knowledge that they have gained from all of that. They carry the scars. They have the mileage on their hearts. They have seen churches split, preachers come and go and sudden deaths within a congregation. They have seen it. They have experienced it.
It is good for younger Christians to seek advice, ask questions and get help from those who have felt the heat from fires of trials and troubles. This is true of younger preachers. They need to sit and talk with older preachers and seek their advice.
Don’t be so arrogant as to believe that you have all the answers. You don’t. Nor that you don’t need any help. You do.
Third, when generations appreciate each other and do not feel like a threat, then great love, joy and peace will abound. The older generation needs the younger generation. This is true in the home and this is true in the congregation. Together, helping each other. Together, worshipping the Lord. Together, building stronger families and stronger congregations.
Ten things older Christians ought to tell younger Christians.
Can you make your own list of what you would tell a younger Christian? How about sharing that with them.