Generational Transmission; January 4, 2018

Psalms 145:4 One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.

Moses wrote repeatedly about the necessity of transmitting knowledge of God from one generation to another, and here David is touching on the same thing. The history of Israel is an object lesson in the necessity of this, as well as an illustration of the reality that it doesn’t happen automatically, but current American culture is no better. In Moses’ day the majority of the people were illiterate, so oral history was all they had to go on. Today we not only have printed Bibles, we have electronic forms of information that weren’t even dreamed of not so many years ago. That said, nothing beats personal impartation. If parents fail to both model their faith and talk about it, the probability that their children will make that faith their own goes down drastically. There is no end to the examples of children who have abandoned their parents’ faith, despite the famous verse in Proverbs: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) The weak point in that is the training. It is useless to tell a child something is important if you don’t treat it as important yourself. If the parents aren’t genuine in seeking first God’s kingdom, (Matthew 6:33) the children aren’t likely to do so on their own.

This applies to spiritual children as well, and that’s where it hits home to me. My physical children are grown, with children of their own, but I deal constantly with my spiritual children. Some of them seem to “get” what I’m trying to transmit to them, but they have been in the minority. I think I have been faithful to say what was right, but have fallen down in confirming they had the foundation to hear what was right. I was incredibly blessed in my own upbringing, but few people have that privilege, and so need to be coached and led gradually into a Biblical world view. I didn’t even run into the metaphor of coaching as an expression of Christian ministry until last year, but I see that it can be very helpful. I can’t control how people come into my sphere of influence, much less their spiritual condition when they do so, so I need constantly to listen to God for the wisdom to deal with them. I must not presume hearing ears and understanding hearts where they don’t exist. At the same time, I can’t impart those things by my own strength and wisdom. I am totally dependent on God, but that should go without saying. My only source of hope and optimism is the assurance that indeed, nothing is too difficult for God. (Jeremiah 32:27)

Father, thank You for Your faithfulness. At times I am painfully aware of my own unfaithfulness. Thank You for the past three weeks with our younger daughter and grandsons here. I ask your protection and guidance in every way for them as they go back to the US today. Thank You for the spiritual children who have stuck with us through recent events. I ask Your protection and guidance for them as well. May Your will be done through all generations, physical and spiritual, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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