There is an interesting problem that has taken shape in recent times. It is that of the distancing of generations in their common purpose of the Gospel.
Yes, there are always differences that exist between generations through technology, communication, scientific advancements etc, but the recent emergence of some parts of this generation that have little regard for their elders and even to the point of declaring that they don't need them or want them is as absurd in the sight of God as women declaring that they don't need men or vise-versa.
If you take those who have walked with God for many years out of a church you also take out the Godly wisdom and counsel! Of course that doesn't mean everyone over the age of 60 in the church functions in the wisdom of God and age itself is not the defining factor of wisdom however the Word of God does give us instruction that I believe it would be prudent to remind ourselves of.
Just as obstructive to the great commission is a church that has no time or place for the young. They have removed or in some cases never welcomed the zeal, vitality and radical nature that is necessary for the advancement of the Good News!
Momentarily at different times of the year in Australia we see a picture that exemplifies what is honorable and just plain "right". These are times like ANZAC day when the young stand in respect of the old, when thousands of young people make their way to ANZAC cove or trek the Kokoda trail. How much more should these generations stand side by side and glean from one another within the body of Christ?
Recently as a church we read through the book of Esther. This scriptural account is an important story of great love and heroism. It is also the tale of two generations that showed how wisdom and zeal can work together spanning the generations. Let me first begin by showing you a key verse that shows the platform for Esther's great heroic act.
5 In Shushan the citadel there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite.6 Kish had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.7 And Mordecai had brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman was lovely and beautiful. When her father and mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.
Was Esther bitter about loosing her parents? About living in exile? About being taken into the King's harem? I am sure there were many moments of question in the mind of this young Jewish girl. However, as we unfold this story we will see why she was able to maintain a courageous spirit. This next verse declares how the heart of this young heroine was prepared.
20 Now Esther had not revealed her family and her people, just as Mordecai had charged her, for Esther obeyed the command of Mordecai as when she was brought up by him.
Esther, even though she was the Queen, continued in a place of honor and respect to her cousin who had brought her up just as his own daughter. She didn't now put on heirs as the Queen but valued the advice of the parental figure in her life.
I believe in this time and season we must grow and disciple a generation with this kind of spirit. One that will lay down their lives for the Gospel and walk in the humility necessary to overcome in those situations.
Hebrews 11, which is the hall of faith, begins by declaring the good testimony of the elders;
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
Those great saints of old obtained a good testimony by faith, by the substance of their hope, by what framed the worlds from what was not seen. The Scripture then goes on to give a lengthy account of many of the different men and women of faith and their great exploits. What comes next is a way of thinking that should always stay with us.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
What a great cloud of witnesses we are surrounded by, watching, cheering us on as we close out the age. We should be inspired and challenged by their faith and the place they have gotten us to. We should also understand that our children and youth are not the church of tomorrow any more than our seniors are the church of yesterday! There is a place, calling and destiny on every member of the Body of Christ and this last chapter should be the tale of two generations, or more, as many as are walking in the Lord.
The key here is that we must walk these last days together, both strategically doing what the book of Hebrews instructs us in next;
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Looking back at the story of Esther we see some keys.
The attitude and the heart of this young girl was correct and she was trained so that when it came down to the difficult decision of what she needed to do, she was in fact, able! There is a reason that this generation has a desire for the extreme and even dangerous. It is because the Lord has deposited a seed in them to become the most radical ministers of the Gospel that the world has ever seen. But we must champion them and they must allow those who have gone before to take this place in their lives.
13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: "Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews.14 "For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" 15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 "Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night, or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!" 17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.
When the time came Esther was able to trust Mordecai even with the laying down of her life, but notice the humility and trust that Mordecai shows towards Esther when he "...went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him"
Yes, Esther was the Queen but more than that, both of these generations held a mutual respect and trust in each other that transcended the generations and that eventuated in national deliverance for the Seed of Abraham and the future of Messiah, Jesus.
Oh, how much we can miss by not appreciating the part that we play and the help that we need from those around us. As I get older I realise how much I don't know and am so very aware of what I now cannot do that those younger than me can.
As we boldly enter the presence of the Lord in the prayer room and lay hold of the strategies of these last days let's take heed of how two generations, Esther and Mordecai walked side by side in God's purposes. Let us also consider one another to stir each other up into the great exploits that we can partner together to do.