Generational Work

Today, I am so aware of the Gospel being a Generational Work. On many levels, I see this as clearly as the August sky.

"One generation shall praise His works to another, and declare His mighty deeds..."

Firstly, I see the need for young men in the church - men in their early to mid twenties - to mentor teenage men. Mine is not the only church, by far, experiencing the dearth of young men with the leadership skills, talents, compassion, and charisma necessary to make loving Jesus seem desireable to their younger counterparts.

Men in their twenties aren't being taught that the Gospel is a generational work. They don't feel responsible. They aren't being taught how to stick and stay and not run away. They aren't being challenged to see their church as an extension of their family, and to accept the mantle of responsibility to mentor the young guys in their home church. ("Home church? What's that?")

This is partly because the parents, those middle aged men and women, aren't taking responsibility either. They, too, float from church to church, easily offended, not sinking roots into the relational soil, weathering the seasons, reaping the harvest. ("Harvest" means so much more than seeing souls saved. Harvest is fruit matured to the picking-point, in any and every good and happy area of life!)

I remember a conversation the Preacher and I had, a couple years back, with an old salt of a saint who'd pastored churches, and does pastor even now. We were talking of those we've seen come and go in our churches, and how sad it was, this loss of potential and momentum and fruit, when roots are ripped up and transplanted, over and over, to no real avail. We were lamenting the limitation that comes when people of any age do not respect authority, nor do they value continuity of years in relationships.

He said, "I will tell you this: 100% of the drifters and the relationally challenged have issues with their own parents. You cannot devalue or disrespect that most basic relationship and expect to somehow understand how healthy relationships in the family of God function."

Ah, wisdom is justified by her children.

It cuts both ways, I have recently discovered. Parents have to model respect by respecting their grown children, honoring their unique destiny, and asking forgiveness when necessary. No parent, by virtue of their position, has the right to manipulate the lives of grown children, or tear down the choices, spouse, or profession of their son or daughter. If you try that, you will live with the consequences, and they are indeed bitter. Far better to humble yourself, even as The Parent, and sincerely make things right...on your child's terms, not yours.

Otherwise, they will forgive you. But they will reserve the right to forgive you from a distance. Is that really what you want?

Wisdom is proven in the generations. This is why I am so thrilled to see many three-generation-strong families in Harvest Church, my own being one of them. (We are actually four generations strong!) Serving God with my parents and my children, while holding my grandson is what the Gospel is about. I can say that, because I know what it has taken to get to this place....a whole lot of obedience and applying my theology to my biography.

And a whole, whole lot of forgivin'.

And we are SO not a trophy family. We've had to apply the Gospel in ways that have humbled us all into the dirt, laid bare and vulnerable before one another. If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know. And it ain't over yet. This Gospel that the Preacher and I have joyfully and painfully lived out in the secret places of our home relationships, is a Generational Work.

You can't manufacture it. It isn't assembly-line. It is artisanal work, done by heart and hand. This sort of work isn't nurtured well in an impersonal, business model church environment, with all due respect.

Yes, one generation shall praise His works to another! I need to wrap this up. I hear my grandson waking up...I can hear him "declaring the Lord's mighty deeds"...well. He's declaring something...loudly.

"The Father forgave the prodigal before he confessed (Luke 15:20) and God provided my forgiveness before I asked, and isn’t this the Kingdom I’m orienting to, the compassion before the confession?

I am a daughter failed and I am a parent failing and I know it in ways now I never knew: if I rip apart the bridge of forgiveness for my own parents with my own hands, I destroy the only way my own children can come to me."

~from the beautiful blog "A Holy Experience" by Ann Voskamp

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