Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Different, But the Same

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders He has done. Psalm 78:2

So often we get hung up on the differences between people – ages, race, gender, economic level, career status, and so many more examples.  We need to train ourselves and steer our thoughts to believeing that the differences we have with people are really what makes us so valuable to each other.  It is easy to always hang around people who are exactly like you, and we do that in our day to day living.  Birds of a feather flock together.  There is nothing wrong with that but if you never allow yourself to get to know someone who is different that you, you will be missing out on some of the greatest blessings God has for you. These differences we have are truly gifts. 
We see this problem a lot when it comes to ages of people or generations.  We automatically see what we don’t like about them and we shut out every opportunity for gaining wisdom and friendships.  God specifically said that the generations before should pass on the things of faith to the next generation, and we can’t let our differences keep us from doing that.  Instead of focusing on how much we don’t like the differences in other generations, we need to accept the differences and embrace the gift God has given us in each other.  He intends for there to be a bond and a respect for each other instead of criticizing each other over the things we don’t like. Often, music style is a sticking point between generations in churches, but each worshiper has the right and privilege of worshiping in their preferred style and none should be denied. Neither style of worship – traditional or contemporary is wrong – they are just different.  Worship is only wrong when we focus on anything other than God.  If we come to worship having already made a decision that we are not going to like it, our hearts will not be truly focused on Him. 

Dr. Amy Hanson, author of Baby Boomers and Beyond,  spoke to our congregation this past Sunday Here is a recap of four practical ways Dr. Hanson suggests that generations can connect more meaningfully with one another:

  • Pray – Intentionaly and purposefully pray for someone who is in a different generation than yours.  Intercede for them, meaning pray to God on their behalf.  Prayer does break down barriers between people and generations.  When we pray for someone our heart is bent toward them and your attitude towards them will change.
  • Eat – Dr. Hanson suggests eating together.  Breaking bread together is something that happens a lot in the Bible.  There is something special about sharing a meal.  Get outside yourcomfort zone and go to lunch with someone older or younger.  Take the time you are together to get to know them and all about their life.  God does use every single second of our lives for a purpose so maybe a story you tell could have been exactly what that other person needed to hear.
  • Serve – Serving together builds unity.  When we serve alongside someone from a different generation, we form a common bond and serve a common purpose. Serving others is a privilege that knows no boundaries. All ages are called to serve and to serve together.
  • Tell Stories – Older generations have so much wisdom and knowledge.  Younger generations have stories too and they want to be listened to as well.  By sharing our stories instead of lecturing to them, we can pass on our faith to the younger generations.  By listening to their stories, we can pour into their lives, making them feel valuable and significant.  This in turn will help them be more open to our wisdom.

We need older generations to share their life experiences, their faith-building stories, and their wisdom. We need younger people to inspire with their zeal and youthful energy. True discipleship happens in a life oriented approach…not in a meeting or program oriented approach.  Investing in other generations is God’s desire and plan.  Faith is not inherited.  It takes intentional focus.  Invest in someone of a different generation today and see how you are blessed.

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