The Apostle Paul had an amazing ability to relate to both the cultural moment in which he lived while at the same time being able to see into the future. He could see trends in values, behaviors, practices and priorities.
This type of wisdom is a gift from God and one that men who belong to Jesus should seek. If we only live in this moment, we disconnect from one of the most important parts of our calling: discipling the next generation. If we only live in a future reality, we disconnect from our identity and calling as ambassadors of the kingdom of God – representing Jesus here and now. Paul could hold time in that tension and understand his place in the here and now.
If we only live in this moment, we disconnect from one of the most important parts of our calling: discipling the next generation.
Your Children Are Watching
I had never really paid much attention to time until I became a dad. Before entering parenthood, my time was really my own. I didn’t even wear a watch! I lived in the here and now and gave little thought to the future.
As the kids grew up around me, I began to understand that I would need to keep one eye on who they are now and the other eye on the people they were becoming. Somehow I would need to learn to live in the present and the future.
As Pastor Paul instructs his young son in the faith, Timothy, in his second letter, he says: “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy.” 2 Timothy 3:2 ESV. Paul is speaking about the future generation growing up around them in their culture. He is foreseeing what is to come.
This is not some outlandish prophecy. Instead, Paul is showing Timothy how multigenerational discipleship works. Who we are now will not only impact who we are becoming but who the next generation will become.
Our kids are no different than us. It figures, given that we were so heavily involved in the process that caused their arrival into our world! It is often easy to get frustrated at their behavior, their attitude, their dysfunction. But the reality is they are made of the same stuff that we are.
Have a Holy Focus
The Apostle Paul is painting a picture of a generation coming along behind us with crumby relationships with their parents, an unholy love of stuff, and selfishness that goes right to the core. Sometimes we gaze into the lives of the next generation and say “amen” to this scripture without realizing the role we play in shaping those coming after us.
This is why we need a holy focus. Our lives, our values, our ethos – in other words, what matters to us, will be reflected deeply in the little ones coming along at our heels. Whether these are our biological children or the young people we mentor in our youth groups and Sunday schools, the reality is still the same. If we have an ungodly love of stuff – guess what? – our kids will too. If we treat people with a lack of respect – good chance Junior will as well. It’s time for us as men to focus. Our lives matter, not just here and now, but in shaping the lives that come after us. Brothers, the future starts here and now with us.
It’s time for us as men to focus. Our lives matter, not just here and now, but in shaping the lives that come after us. Brothers, the future starts here and now with us.
Let us make a decision to create a future where people love others, are generous with their resources, and are humble, kind, thankful and holy. We do that by choosing to be that sort of person today!
Prayer: God make me aware of myself today. Help me to know who I am and who I am becoming, and help me show my children what is truly important. Give me a holy focus.