From generation to generation
A year or so ago, I started a session on FaceTime with our youngest grandson who was 14 at the time, now 15, who lives in Great Barrington, MA. We were studying the book of Genesis and the Ten Commandments. The material was developed by Practice Ministries. They have numerous study guides and teacher’s manuals for fathers and their children. In this case it was for grandfather and grandson. All their materials are accessible from our website here. Then about six months ago, Will, our second youngest, wanted to also start the study. We do this one in our home.
What a privilege to disciple your second generation. Don’t leave it entirely to their parents. Look at Psalm 78.1-8 with me. Observe the number of generations you are impacting when you are purposefully discipling your children and grandchildren. I’ll simply highlight a few verses. Please read them all.
And our fathers have told us;
We will not hide them from their children;
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord;
That they should make them known to their children;
That the generation to come might know them;
The children who would be born;
That they may arise and declare them to their children.
I’ll leave it to you to count the generations that are impacted. It’s definitely not ‘one and done’. Then we see that God is the one who is directing and empowering the fathers in Malachi 4.6a—“And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers”. Notice that these are the last words recorded in the Old Testament, 400 years before John the Baptist and Jesus were born. No coincidence!
We then move to these words of Jesus to the disciples and the crowds. “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 19.14,15). Jesus laid his hands on them and prayed. Dads, you are extending the kingdom of heaven through your little ones, even big ones. As a friend said, “don’t raise them, disciple them for the gospel of Jesus Christ”.
Empowered by Jesus
And if the above is not enough encouragement, let’s listen to the last recorded words of Jesus before he ascended. The last thing on his mind and heart must have been really important. He showed the disciples, he then commanded the disciples and finally empowered the disciples. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded to you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28.18). That just might be a specific calling on your life. It is certainly a general command, to all of us.
And finally, examine the means by which Jesus planned to facilitate his commands. He was to depart, and now has. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1.8). Let’s not get the cart before the horse. Before you feel like going out and saving the world, all the nations, look closely at Jesus’ words. Jerusalem (home); Judea (circle of influence); Samaria (people not like you) and the end of the earth (wherever God might place you, temporarily or permanently). Start with your primary responsibilities—your children and grandchildren. Then, let God lead you to others.