Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

11.19.2010

Your Fingerprint on the Future


In eighty years, it is more than likely that you and I will both be dead. For that matter, in two hundred years, all that will remain of us will be a tombstone and a pile of dust in a coffin, if that. Most of our names will be forgotten, except in the eternal remembrance of a dusty old family tree. Blogs may not exist. Telephones may be as extinct as the telegraph now is.

Most people have a difficult time imagining their lives ten years from now, and they would simply laugh at the idea of planning for eighty years into the future. The Barna Group conducted a fascinating survey last year of teenagers, asking, “What do you expect will happen in your life by age 25?” You can view the complete results here, and you will find the numbers intriguing.  93% predict that they will definitely or probably have a college degree, but only 39% will definitely have a close relationship with God. 81% hope to have a great-paying job, and 71% plan on travelling to other countries, yet only 58% definitely or probably plan to be married. In the most ironic twist, 24% of teens are definite that by age 25 they will have a job that makes a difference. But only 7% plan on serving the poor regularly and only 9% are definitely planning on having children before age 25!  For the young people of today, any planning ahead is centered on careers and prosperity, and the idea of making a difference in one's own family is a foreign thought. 

Now, forget age 25—envision 2090 and 2210. If the Lord tarries, there will be ten year olds, twenty year olds, and thirty year olds who will hardly know your name, and could care less what countries you visited and what numbers were scribbled on your paycheck. But these are people who will have your same nose, your same talent for curling their tongues, and your same fatal flaws. These are people whose goals and strengths and weaknesses and very lives hang on your choices today: you are bequeathing to them an inheritance, whether you like it or not.  Think back to 1930, and the great-grandparents who were working and sleeping and living then. You may not know it, but it is more than likely—in fact, it is almost certain—that they fought the very same battles you are fighting today. Don’t you wonder if they won? Don’t you wonder if they never could gain victory over that one weakness, and if it is the same one you now wrestle with today? Wouldn’t it change how you live your life if you knew that someone who lived eighty years ago prayed for you specifically to follow Christ?

I’m here to tell you that multi-generational thinking is not just for conferences and parents and grandparents. It is the most incalculably short-sighted folly for young people to become so absorbed in their own lives that they cannot see past their fleeting goals for age 25.  It is the most immeasurably shameful delusion for young people to really believe that having a vision for the future is fulfilled in their well-laid plans for education and travel. 

Having vision for the future is not a command of God that we do not have to fulfill until we get married. Singleness, youth, childlessness, and busyness are not exemptions from investing yourself in future generations. Deuteronomy 4:9 is an all-encompassing, no holds barred kind of command: “Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself[present], lest you forget the things your eyes have seen[past], and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren[future].”  Seeing with multi-generational eyes means seeing just a little more like our God who is unbound by time sees.  Why else would He constantly reiterate that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob unless He views His people from within the framework of the previous and future generations?   If God thinks multi-generationally, how can we continue thinking only in decades?  We have no excuse. 

There is no possible excuse because a thirteen year old can already start praying for the spouse that God has planned for her.
And if you’re fourteen, you have no excuse because you can diligently pursue serious quiet time every day, knowing that one day you will have little children looking up at you with shining eyes, waiting for your answers to their most difficult questions. 
If you’re fifteen, you can pour yourself into obeying your father and his vision for the next generations.
If you’re sixteen, you can keep a journal and record your own pitfalls and stumblings—and how the Lord has worked in your life.
If you’re eighteen and newly graduated from high school, you can live with decisiveness, working every minute for God’s kingdom, not defaulting to college because it’s the thing to do.
If you’re twenty and still single, you can follow God with all your heart and soul, because the choice between right and wrong that you make today will have repercussions for centuries.
If you're twenty-seven, you can intercede before the throne of God for your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. 
If you’re forty and have no children, you can still find children in every church and on every street whose lives are just waiting for investment, prayer, and vision in order to blossom.

In short, if you are breathing and you are a Christian, know that having a successful vision for the children of your children to love the Lord Jesus does not start when those children are born: it started when you were born. The future generations must live worthy of their inheritance, but you must live to bequeath a worthy one. 

Picture Credit: CameliaTWU
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2 comments:

  1. Very good post, Lauren! It is sad how short-sighted I can be, but I am encouraged by how God cares for the past and future generations.

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  2. in 80 years time it doesnt matter if no one remembers my name aslong as the hearts i've touched passed something on to another heart because of that one touch

    ReplyDelete

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