What the next generation needs from us

The packed stadium goes suddenly silent. Race fans hold up three fingers in reverence during the third lap.

Tragedy struck at the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18, 2001. Dale Earnhardt’s car was involved in an accident that took his life. Now, three fingers raised during a race stands as a tradition to remember one of the great performers in NASCAR’s history and as a way to honor one who went before us.

We can honor those who’ve gone before us in faith, too. It’s our turn in the race of life, but we’ve learned from the people before us. How we carry on faith in Jesus will influence those following us (Hebrews 12:1).

The Bible is full of ordinary people who believed in an extraordinary God. The next generation needs us to exhibit that same faith.

Three Ways Our Faith Can Impact the Next Generation

1. The next generation needs us to model faith like those before us.

Many people of faith paved the way for us by expecting God would do even more after their time. They got a glimpse of the amazing things God would do and believed that He had something better in store (Hebrews 11:39-40). We learn from their example of how to endure adversity, stand up to injustice, and be faithful to God rather than enjoy temporary gratification (Hebrews 11:4-38).

When we have the same faith our predecessors did, we offer those following us an example of faith in Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:7-8).

2. The next generation needs us to tell stories about God.

Our families and friends often tell and retell the stories of people who meant a lot to us. The more important the individual was to each of us, the more stories we tell.

When we pass along stories about the amazing things God has done in our lives, more people have the opportunity to see who He is, take next steps with Him and have a changed life, too (Psalm 78:4-7, Psalm 145:4-7).

3. The next generation needs us to believe in them.

Those who came before us were once the young, up-and-coming generation, too.

Like we celebrate the faith of past generations, we can celebrate what Jesus will do in the next generation. 

Like we celebrate the faith of past generations, we can celebrate what Jesus will do in the next generation. God’s work isn’t limited to one group of people or one time period. He uses every generation to accomplish something. The question is whether we’ll be a part of funding His mission or foiling it.

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