As we look at the generation gap, I thought I could have a “debate” with BG, a youth group leader, and compare/contrast the merits of the older generation with the abilities of a younger generation when it comes to developing the kingdom of God. (I know what you’re thinking. I’m way, way too young to hold an “older” perspective. I initially agreed, until I thought about how our college-age sons called me the “Walking Progressive Insurance Ad Dad.” Just because I like the occasional early-bird special at Olive Garden, I patrol the house, turn off the lights, and enjoy a good “Dad Joke” like, “If you’re ever attacked by a gang of clowns, go see the juggler.” )
DL: So how did you get your name?
BG: Sigh. My mom was a big fan of the rock group Bee Gees.
DL: It could be worse. She could have been a Judas Priest fan. This is now going to be a friendly debate, meaning we can disagree without becoming mortal enemies. Why don’t you kick us out?
BG: Wow. This is a novel concept in today’s world, but let’s give it a try. In the Old Testament book of Esther, I love how God chose a beautiful Jewish princess named Esther to heroically save her people from destruction. This young lady demonstrates incredible faith, incredible obedience, and willingly risk her own life to fulfill her destiny.
DL: If you love spy/spy novels, Esther is a great read. I agree that Esther is a great heroine, but you’ll also find that her older uncle Mordecai was a wonderful mentor to Esther and gives her wise advice behind the scenes to help her on her mission. So I would argue that this story benefits both old and young generations.
BG: Fair enough. Okay, how about when God decides the time is right to send His Son, God chooses John the Baptist, a young, dedicated believer, to boldly call for repentance of all people, to boldly speak God’s truths, even in the face of death, & who humbly submits again and again to God & Christ.
DL: JtB is one of the great heroes of the New Testament. However, I would suggest that JtB’s ministry owes its foundation to his elderly parents, Elizabeth & Zachariah. They were righteous people and devout followers of God. They raised JtB to be a great man of faith by following the edicts of the priesthood of the time. One could argue that Luke regards Elizabeth and Zechariah as the true starting point of Jesus’ earthly ministry.
Even when God chooses to begin His plan of salvation, He chooses a VERY elderly couple, Abraham & Sarah. If God wanted offspring to outnumber the sands of the beach, it would be wiser to pick a couple watching the latest streaming hit rather than a couple watching Matlock reruns on cable. However, Abraham demonstrated the wisdom of trusting God.
bg: wow. Abraham. Good choice. Okay, I’ll close the debate with Mary. When God needed a human vessel for his only son, he chose a young girl to be his mother. He did not choose a woman with immense experience in child rearing, or a woman with degrees in child development, or a woman with a strong record of achievement in the religious world. Instead, God chose a young woman who was a great woman of faith, who had a heart for motherhood, and who showed incredible courage over and over again.
So what can we conclude from our discussion?
DL: God is truly an equal opportunity employer. When it comes to their kingdom, no one, no matter how young or old, is beyond their calling. As long as we breathe we have value to God and He has great hopes and dreams for each of us.
bg Amen. So since everyone has skills and talents that are vital to their empire, we must ensure that we are doing everything we can to work together to reach our full potential. Older believers need to be eager to share their faith and experience with younger Christians, and young people of the faith need to share their passion, creativity and energy with older believers.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to my favorite vintage record store, All Sales Are Vinyl, to look for a Rolling Stones album.
DL: Rolling Stones? I became a fan of their music when they performed at Arrowhead Stadium in 1975. I remember my Spanish teacher predicting that they would break up shortly after the tour. Or as she said, “The Rolling Stones will not be assembling mas.”
bg: (Stares) Your sons may be right. Thanks for the debate.