With every rising and setting of the sun, time races forward to embrace a profound Hope. Men and women engage in the Great Commission, endeavoring to hasten the Kingdom of God, to reach the Lost before it’s too late. In the midst of the chase, an often overlooked friend of revival becomes a casualty. That friend is the mutual faith in, and respect between, Christian generations.
Our younger generation can be characterized as low in years, lean in achievements, but high in confidence, potential and passion. Although it is often not accompanied with the wisdom of years and experience, this combination can yield great accomplishments in the Kingdom. Bursting out of the gate and churning ahead, this generation must use caution, else they miss the warning signs and landmarks of the previous generation, and end up quite lost. They need the elder, but something has happened… The voice of the elder has become silent. Have they stopped talking? Have we stopped listening? Somehow, this breach must be repaired.
The next generation has advanced somewhat… at least to the point that years have left both scars and accomplishments. Their confidence is tamed by past mistakes and tempered with reason. They are planners, fighters, students and teachers. Still willing to press into new areas, they desire wisdom in areas they don’t understand. They hope to find counsel in those who have traversed the dangerous paths before them. Years have taught the importance for dependence on foundations, but something has happened… The voices of the experienced have become quieter, and less frequent. Relationships with the veteran have deteriorated over the years, and they they wonder if they can really be mended. Somehow they must be.
Then there is the seasoned generation, whose age has advanced and many accomplishments have been made. They have experienced struggles and sacrifices made to frightening degrees. Life experiences have amassed like mountains. Revivals and church splits, outreach, evangelism, deaths, hospitals, baptisms, late night altar calls. Life. They observe the younger, and preach the words of the elder. They’re disappointed in some decisions of the youth, and reminisce about the sage wisdom of the forefathers. They still have confidence, though it has waned some with years. Confidence in God is never questioned, but something internally makes them feel less worthy. Less of a voice. Less needed. Something has happened… They fear the younger generation is slipping slowly away from the foundations, and feel compelled to mentor and shape them. They see the rapid decline of the elder, and pray for the preservation of their voices.
And then there’s the elder generation. They love to reminisce about the old times, reliving through conversations with anyone who will listen about the mountains they’ve climbed, battles fought and dragons slain. But something else is happening. Their age has escalated, and time is painfully short. Confidence is not what it used to be. The legs don’t work as well, and the body that used to run marathons now rests out of necessity. Self-worth has given way to the harsh reality of age’s limitations. Wisdom declares that God has called, chosen, approved and blessed, but the heart is growing faint. Something has happened… Has their time has passed? Phone calls don’t come like they used to. Occasional acknowledgments at group events. Their experiences have grown so tall, they seem to have eclipsed the worth of their voice. They want to share, but few seem interested. They have timeless wisdom given by God, but it seems that to hear them is only to humor them. Will the young ones take interest? Will they look back one day and wish they were still around?
To the young. We need you. Listen. Learn. Receive. Seek out the elder and sit at their feet. Don’t forsake wisdom. Fight battles, and win big. Do it for the honor of God and those who have fought before you. Make them proud. We believe in you.
To the initiated. Keep pressing forward. Revival is yours. Lives will be changed, Hell will be defeated and Heaven will grow. Mentor the young. Love the old. Reach out to them both, for when you let go of either, you begin the descent to the island of defeat.
To the experienced. Talk. Open your mouth. Shout words of passion, encouragement, spirit and warning. Sit with the young, and love them… don’t refuse them. Dine with the initiated, and invest in them. Share with them and encourage them… maybe even learn from them. Hug the old and preach their words to the younger. Open up forums to bridge the gap that time and culture has breached. Be confident. You’re the compass. We’re watching.
To the elder. We love you. You are valuable beyond price. Be strong and encouraged. Our hands are firmly planted beneath your arms. As we sit together in battle, share with us what we haven’t seen. Tell us of places we can go, and of the greatness of God. Understand we’ll not be able to do everything the way you have, as times bring definite change, but that every timeless truth you instill in us will live beyond your years. They become us. We want journeys of prayer in twilight hours. We crave the fervent breath of God’s power as it resurrects and delivers. We want to make you proud, as you have done to us. Though we know it’s inevitable with time, please don’t leave your post. Not without first pouring every grain of knowledge, experience and passion into the willing vessels that want to hear, but don’t know how to approach someone so highly honored.
If we are to excel… if we are to succeed… if we are to survive… we must repair the breach.