Week 6 Tuesday

The Next Generation

Today’s scripture selection: Judges 1-6

Key verses: Judges 2:10

When I was a kid it seemed to me that those older than I were always talking about the “these kids today.”  Usually, what they had to say wasn’t very favorable.  There was lots of talk about hair being too long and dresses being too short.  I know, I’m dating myself, but you get the picture.

There was also a lot of musing about how all the old values were going to be forgotten and the world was going to hell in a hand basket, whatever a hand basket was.  Rock and roll was blamed for a lot of bad things and drugs seemed to be everywhere.  I still remember the day I watched a “stoned” classmate of mine get up from his desk, supposedly to excuse himself to go the restroom, and walk right into the wall, knocking himself down in the process.  Sadly, there are some things “That 70’s Show” has recorded accurately.

But the problem of one generation going against the grain of the previous generation isn’t a new one.  It’s been happening forever.  The truth is that sometimes a new generation wreaks havoc upon the world; other times it saves it.  It’s a mixed bag.

In ancient Israel’s history, during a time when certain heroes named the judges ruled, it was the same way.  Too often those who came along forgot the important lessons their ancestors had learned about the faith.  They turned to other gods and let idolatry rule the day – to their own peril.  Then, a hero of the faith would come along, and set them on the right path again.  But it was constant struggle, between following the right path and the wrong one.

Today, it’s the same way.  We have a great responsibility to help the “next generation” follow the right path.  Our children and youth will probably often want to strike out on their own, in a totally new direction.  That’s natural – that’s human nature.

But we need to make sure that we do our best to offer them a strong, sure foundation on which to build.  That isn’t easy – and sometimes we might just want to throw up our hands in despair.  But they need us to be patient, to listen, and to guide them in the “way they should go,” as much as we can.

So the next time you feel like complaining about “these kids today” remember – you were once the new kid on the block.  And offer them all the help you can.  It will make the world to come a much better place.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for being so patient with me, even with all my failings.  Show me how to be patient with those who follow me in the faith.   AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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