Last year about this time, Ron and I hosted a cookout at our farm so we could get to know some of our son and daughter-in-law’s church friends. We wound up meeting about 40 people, most in their late 20’s and early 30’s, with a few old folks like us in the mix. While we enjoyed getting to know the older folks and the young women, it was the young men who made the biggest impression.
Christian women talking about their faith seems fairly commonplace, but when young men talk about leading others to Jesus and the time they spend in prayer and in the Word … well, it’s refreshing. Listening to a young pastor talk passionately about his own transformation, his relationship with God, and how he prepares for worship renewed my hope for the future. Hearing young professionals speak humbly and casually about taking a stand for Jesus in the workplace put a smile on my face. It seemed none of these young men had any inhibition whatsoever in speaking about their love for God. It was as natural as a new parent doting over their newborn.
Most of these young men and women were led to Jesus by older Christians – some parents, some youth leaders, and some mentors. But there is a phenomenon occurring across college campuses these days that seems almost poetic. Many college students are attending churches that embrace the energy and passion of these fresh-faithed twenty-somethings. Focused simply on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (the gospel), these churches keep the main thing, the main thing. They have embraced the all-inclusiveness that Jesus modeled. They welcome all of the “whosoevers” of this world. When college life comes to an end, these young believers do not graduate from their faith, but rather they inspire parents, leaders, and mentors to join them on a fresh adventure of freedom in Christ. Having been brought to Jesus by older Christians, they are now returning the favor by injecting older believers with a renewed shot of passion.
If you are a young Christian please help us older ones by understanding that it is often easy to grow weary in well-doing. Try to understand we’ve been through a great number of trials that have taken their toll. We need your enthusiasm to help spur us on. However, the level of love for all God has done throughout our many years has created an intimacy with Him that we pray you will one day enjoy. Ask us to share our stories of faith with you. When you have doubts or questions, ask. Your asking keeps us on our toes. We realize God has put us in position to lay a foundation of faith for you. It’s not our job to give you a list of do’s and don’ts; it’s our job to tell you the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done. (Ps. 78)
Older folks, remember the passion of your youth? Remember how you thought you were invincible? Don’t let the weight of your years cause you to lose heart. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor while serving the Lord. (Rom. 12) Share less of the “whats” with your children and grandchildren and more of the “whys”. Tell them how much you love God and explain why. Tell how He has never left you nor forsaken you. Let them know that Jesus is enough! Pray with them and for them. Celebrate their faith! Be close enough to them to catch their enthusiasm and infect them with your wisdom. Thank them for inspiring you. Encourage them to keep up the good work. Show them reasons to fall more deeply in love with God. There will be no need to worry about the future of the church if we demonstrate how to love God and love others.
Then, all of us, young and old, who trust in Jesus’ overwhelming grace should pray for supernatural wisdom and strength so that we can do all we can do in the natural, and leave the super up to God!
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with
ALL the Lord’s holy people,
to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this
love that surpasses knowledge—
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do
immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory
in the church
and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations,
for ever and ever! Amen.”
(Ephesians 3:18-21, emphasis mine)