March 2013’s edition of Table Talk Magazine covers Youth Culture. In an article entitled A Call to Maturity, Robert Carver challenges the older generation to train up our youth in the way of the Lord.
While there is a cultural divide between the older generation and the up and coming youth, godly saints still have a lot of wisdom to offer. Walking with the Lord for 30, 40, or even 50 years bears a lot of fruit. Fruit that needs to be shared. Even though formal instruction exists in homes, schools, and churches, informal day-to-day opportunities are available. Carver offers three practical ways to take advantage of the everyday.
How to Take Advantage of the Everything
(1) Love Them Genuinely And Patiently
The younger generation needs to know that the older generation is not estranged from them. The church is a body made up of many members, young and old – all valuable to the functioning of the whole.
In Ephesians 4, Paul describes the saints as growing from spiritual immaturity “to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (v. 13). This process is accomplished “when each part is working properly, mak[ing] the body grow so that it builds itself up in love’ (v. 16).
If we are to have an impact on the young, we must love them, and they must know that we do.
“Love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).
If you are a part of the older generation, don’t be hesitant to tell the up and coming youth you know that you love them (corporately and individually). To love them genuinely and patiently is to love them as God loves us.
(2) Share With Them What Is Most Important to You
One thing that should be important to you is God’s Word. Let the youth see your passionate love for God’s Word as it instructs you, guides you, encourages you, and convicts you. Let them see how vital of a component it is for your everyday life.
“I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12).
Share specific passages that have gripped your life recently.
Also, convey to them the essential nature of prayer. Help them to see that it is an activity Christians can’t live without. Do this as you pray with them and for them. Le’ts Paul’s testimony of Epaphras be yours. In Colossians 4:12, Paul testified that Epaphras was “always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12).
Without fail urge them to fight the good fight, to battle tirelessly with sin, and to flee youthful passions (2 Tim. 2:22) that wage war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11).
Furthermore, challenge them to see God at work in all events, including the details of their lives. Encourage them to constantly thank God for all they have and for them to never forget to give Him all glory.
(3) Invest In Them
Buy them books that have made a spiritual impact on your life, and offer to study these books with them. Offer to take them to conferences and other Christian gatherings. The investments we make in their spiritual lives will pay everlasting dividends.
Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days (Eccl. 11:1).
After offering three practical suggestions Carver closes by saying:
So, “to what shall I compare this generation?” Surely it is a generation like no other. But it is also a generation that needs to know Christ’s redeeming love, and needs to shine as lights in the world in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation (Phil. 2:15) – just as we of the older generation needed to do back in our day (and now). May God help us to be examples and loving instructors to them, and may they do likewise.”
I believe Carver’s call and suggestions are helpful and must be heeded. I can speak from personal experience in saying that the older generation has influenced me. I am thankful men have stepped up and spoke into my life. I am afraid though that is a rarity, but it doesn’t have to be.
May those in the older generation feel God’s call to train up the youth of this generation to be the men and women of Christ that they have become.
Table Talk Magazine March 2013, A Call to Maturity, 23-25.