This series is titled (obviously), what you might miss by taking the freeway through life. The freeway is the easier way, but there is a richness in God’s country just like what you miss by jetting through God’s life in the fast lane.
A Multi-Generational Dream
In the context of a Church where the retention rate of our youth is nearing 10%, let me tell you a story (this story has the added benefit of being true!). Recently, an elderly gentleman died, had a funeral, and was buried. Nothing was special about his death or burial. At his funeral, however, there was an extraordinary sight. This man was fairly prolific, between his children, grand kids, and great grand decedents. But that wasn’t what was special. Every man, woman, child, great grand kid or son was a bible believing Christian. In the section marked ‘reserved’, maybe 50 human beings sat who all knew where they were going when they got to dad/grampa/great-grampa’s current position. Somehow, I don’t think that was a coincidence. Others wondered too, some of those who were actually at the funeral.
The man’s elderly widow explained: every morning since the day they were married, her husband had prayed for all those kids. They weren’t even born yet, and he prayed for them! Every day, without fail, her husband would rise early in the morning, and pray for his kids, grand kids, and great grand kids, usually for an hour. I don’t know how old this man was, but say he was 85, and he got married at 20. For 65 years, he spent 1 hour each day praying for his family, and for their salvation. That’s 1 hour per day X 360.25 days in a year (including leap year) X 65, which works out to 23416 hours, 1950 days @ 12 hours a day, or 3 years of praying 24/7. Per capita, that’s only 468 hours, 39 days @ 12 hours a day, or just a little over a month. Which I consider a pretty good return: 475 hours to bring a soul to eternity with God. Just 23500 easy payments of 59:95!
However, heaven isn’t for sale. I mock the shopping channel gimmick purely to put our selfishness and shortsightedness in prospective. Salvation is by faith alone, not by works that any man should boast. See, by God’s grace are you saved, through faith. Faith that God sent his one and only Son, the Word that was with God in the beginning, into the world not to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Many people today are destined to destruction–their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame, just like it was 2000 years ago when Paul wrote Philippians, 3000 years ago when Solomon wrote ‘there is nothing new under the sun’, and 4000 years ago when the earth was so filled with filth that God power washed the whole thing down with a global flood. Someday in the future, He’ll have to get out his flame thrower. I certainly want to be as refined as possible before that happens! In the mean time, God uses things like funerals to remind us of the real meaning of life.
My point is this: the Church is falling apart, and the remnant wants to fix it. Seeker Sensitive churches cater to the crowds, and draw 6-figure attendance, but spiritually it’s like chaff in the wind. Not what would hold up in that flame thrower. Fundamentalists keep doing what they’ve done for the past 50 years and expect a different result, with fewer and fewer people attending every year. I’ve come to believe that multigenerationalism could be the solution to our problem.
See, multigenerational thinking considers effects not only you in the present, in considers you in the future, your family, and future generations. Multigenerationalism takes the golden rule to the extreme, applying it to neighbors who don’t even exist yet. Multigenerationalism is what inspired the founding fathers to create a society of freedom, even though it cost them terribly. The ultimate example is Christ, who paid the ultimate price for succeeding generations. Too many individuals live for the moment, plan for pleasure, and ignore the needs of the rest of the world and the example set by their forefathers. High on the list of engraved commandments, God promises to show love to a thousand generations of those who keep His word!
Faith without action is dead, according to the apostle James. If you want good things for your future generations, but still put your own interests ahead of theirs, it does no good. For example, You can be thinking all the right multigenerational things, but if you send your kids away from your influence 8-10 hours (school + work), 8 hours of sleep and 6 hours of TV, your kids are going to inherit the (almost completely) negative legacy of TV, their peers and their school curriculum. ‘But wait’, you might say. ‘My kids have Christian teachers!’ Right. In a system which bans public prayer, Bible reading and Christian ideas while promoting materialism, evolution and disregard for God, teachers are hogtied by curriculum, regulations, and federal money. Let’s face it folks, the cards are stacked against Christian kids in the public schools.
From a philosophical standpoint, these school systems were designed to mass educate for the sole purpose of manning mass-production facilities. We have robots that can perform repetitive tasks now, we really don’t need humans who are capable only of doing that. What happens to individuality when you program 30 things the exact same way, and 100,000,000 things using the same method? (Sorry to keep referencing programing, but it’s what I do: PotterVilla Applied Technology!) How can a personal faith with a living God flourish when it’s processed by a spiritual meat grinder? God (as usual) knew what He was talking about when he told parents to educate their children, and to impress the scriptures on their minds–education by proxy just isn’t cutting it.
If you’re responsible for someone being in that system, consider this a challenge. If you’re a kid in the system, know that I, and others, are praying for you. Know that God won’t give you more than you can bear. Keep the Faith, look beyond the world and today’s challenges, and God will help you. “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8)
I’m not here to offer discouragement over the state of our world though; 10,000 news outlets exist to do that. There’s a Hope–not just hope for the afterlife, but Hope for living out. I’m speaking primarily to my generation, but old dogs can still learn new tricks. We’ve been given a torch that’s burning out. By the grace of God, we can fan it back into full flame! We can rebuild our hills and throw off our bowls! We can setup a legacy of blessing that will last for 1000 generations!
Temptation says we are alone. That’s what Elijah thought. “Yet I [God] reserve seven thousand in Israel–all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” Here are a few bloggers of the 7,000 in America (I’m linking to good posts, so if this struck a nerve with you, read them! If this didn’t, read them!): Promised Land, and a longer post I need to read again from Promised Land, resources at Down On The Farm, an agrarian experience from TN Farmgirl, God’s provision at ND Homekeeper, and celebrating independence day at her son’s blog Adventures of a Turtle Mtn. Hillbilly. As far as I’m concerned, these are the finest posts and blogs on the net.
This is my dream. I have a dream that one day my children will rise up and live as men and women of God. I have a dream that one day in these amber waves of grain, sons, fathers and grandfathers will sit together at the Christian table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the purple mountain tops will be transformed into an oasis of Godliness. I have a dream that four generations after me will live together in a nation where the character remains intact through multiple generations. I have a dream today! ‘I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be maid plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”‘ This is our hope, and this is the faith that I live for.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling, to the only God our Savior; to Him who can do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine; to Him who was raised from the dead so that we might bear fruit to God; to Him who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see; to Him who all things are from and whose power is at work within us; To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father; to Him be glory in the Church, majesty, power, authority, honor and might for ever and ever! Amen.
“Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the King.” “Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 2:17, 1:13)
“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)
Ever in His Peace,
P.S. Thanks for reading.