Life At Its Best: The hand-off
I'll never forget watching the 2008 Olympic competitions. I was excited because both the American men's and women's mile relay teams were expected to take gold in the competition.
However, that's not what most of us remember about the race. Instead, we remember the heartbreak of watching both American teams blow the hand-off that cost them their Olympic medal.
After the race, the chief executive officer of the American Olympic team called for a comprehensive study on how these runners were recruited, coached and trained. He was determined to identify the cause of their failed hand-off and to prevent it from ever happening again.
When I think about this story, I think about the church. For the past four generations, we've struggled with the hand-off of our faith to the next generation, and consequently, we've seen a cycle of significant decline in Christianity in America. But I believe we can reverse that cycle.
Romans 13:11 says, "The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed."
We can't allow ourselves to slumber at a time in which we should be taking responsibility. We must identify the problems holding us back from success.
Like that CEO, we must discover how to effectively train the next generation in the principles of God's Word and live determined to successfully hand off our faith to future generations.
One of God's prophets, Habakkuk, was passionate about reviving his generation. He lived in a culture with little respect for God's law, and many peoples' lives were being destroyed by sin. As he looked at the pain of the people all around him, his heart broke.
He cried out to God, asking him to re-establish His law in the nation and restore the hearts of His people. God heard Habakkuk's cry and replied, "Write down the revelation and make it plain . for the revelation awaits an appointed time . though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come."
That command wasn't only relevant to Habakkuk's generation. It applies to us today as well. If God's Word is going to be lived out in the future, we must make His message clear to the next generation through every avenue possible.
God commanded His people in Psalms 78:6-7 to teach His laws to their children, "So the next generation would know the truth and never forget the works of God."
We also have to realize that, as God told Habakkuk, change doesn't come overnight. We can't get discouraged when things don't happen as quickly as we might want them to. Instead, we must be patient and continue to teach God's message with passion.
I encourage you today to take conscious action in training up the next generation. Continue to instill God's message in their hearts, and have faith, knowing that though the change may be slow in coming, it will certainly come.
Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.