Telling the Next Generation

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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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

Psalm 78 focuses mainly on the sad history of Israel’s persistent rebellion against the Lord. Though he showed them mercy time and again, and though he disciplined them for their disobedience, the children of Israel regularly turned away from God and failed to keep his covenant.

Yet Psalm 78 holds out hope that the future for Israel might be better than the past if those who are mature teach the next generation to know and serve the Lord. In particular, the younger folk need to learn about “the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty works” (78:4). Then the next generation will “set its hope anew on God” (78:7).

This psalm reminds those of us who are mature in our Christian faith that we have the responsibility of passing on our faith to the next generation. Studies show that this is not happening effectively, that increasing numbers of people under 30 are rejecting the faith of older generations. From my experience as a pastor, I know the pain of parents whose children turn away from the Lord. Yet I have also rejoiced with parents as their children and grandchildren come to renewed faith in Christ.

Psalm 78 urges us to be attentive to the next generation. Are we, in our churches, telling the story of God’s wonders in a way that communicates with the next generation? Are we willing to be stretched in order to speak the language of younger folk? Moreover, in our own lives, we should check to see if we are telling our own children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews about our experience of God’s love and grace. Are you passing on the story of what God has done in Jesus Christ, and through him in your life?

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: In what ways does your church seek to reach the next generations with the good news of Christ? In what ways do you sense resistance to speaking in the idiom of younger people? How do you share the good news with younger people in your life?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I’m reminded of my responsibility to share your wonders with the next generation. Indeed, it’s not mine alone, but something I share with all other mature believers. So I pray today for my church, that we will find creative and effective ways to share the good news with younger folk. Help us to make this a priority, to stretch ourselves for the sake of the next generation.

Help me, Lord, to be faithful in this endeavor in my own life. With my children and their friends, may I share my faith in word and deed, doing so in a way that is authentic and open. May I live my faith in such a way that the younger people in my world see your reality in me, so they might be open to hear me speak of your grace. Amen.

Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Family Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.