I think we can all agree that no one likes to be stuck in the middle of a difficult situation. Whether it is dealing with an issue at work, playing referee at home, or trying to step in and help a friend, these can make for pretty stressful times for us. However, I have to admit, I am stuck in the middle of a pretty good situation these days.
It has been a long ten years for Astros’ fans. As a kid growing up in Southeast Texas, the Houston Astros were the only professional sports team that I was ever able to see live. I guess that football and basketball games were too expensive. But, every once in a while, my parents would load my brother and I up in the car and we would head out to the Astrodome. I mainly remember great pitchers who played for the Astros – names like Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, and J.R. Richards. Being an Astros’ fan is definitely one thing that my dad passed down to me. Thankfully, some of his others loves (mainly the Oklahoma Sooners) did not quite take hold in my life. Over the years, even switching over to Minute Maid Park, I have enjoyed going to a number of games. Some of those have been with my dad, some with Debra and the kids, and every once in a while the whole group has been able to go. One of my favorite memories is the time, quite a few years ago now, that my dad and Matthew each wore their Craig Biggio jerseys to a game in Houston.
Monday, of this week, presented quite the opportunity for us as a family. My dad, Matthew, and I got to see the Astros, in person at the ballpark, together. Now, the game itself did not turn out so well, but when you can have three generations of Astros’ fans enjoying an American League Divisional Series game together, it is still a good day! It was fun to watch my son and my dad interact at the game.
Of course, having multi-generational involvement is not limited to baseball games. This past summer, we also had a great time together on the mission field in Germany. Now, our mission work there also involves baseball, but there is an even greater focus on sharing the gospel. Few things in life have made me as excited as having my kids, my wife, and my dad all on that mission field with me. At one point, there were even three generations preaching at the same time during the Sunday morning worship service in Bunde, Germany.
There is a lot of talk these days about generational differences. You have the Greatest Generation, the Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennials. It seems to me that all of these titles are primarily based on each generation’s interaction with the world around them. Our oldest generation stepped up when we needed them most and fought against real evil. Millennials are known mainly for their interactions with technology and the way that has affected their attitudes and relationships.
However, biblically speaking, it seems that we are not supposed to be defined by our interactions with the world around us. As a matter of fact, we are supposed to be known by how much we stand out from the world. The Apostle John put it this way in 1 John 2:15-17:
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”
I believe, as far as generations go, followers of Christ should only be concerned about one thing. Passing on our faith from one generation to the next is one of the most important things we can do while we are here on Earth. My father (and mother for that matter) have done well in passing along their faith to the generations who have come after them. My parents taught me about prayer, authentic faith, and perseverance (just to name a few important topics). My dad and I even share a love of a particular verse of Scripture….
Philippians 2:22 tells us, “But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.”
Now, I know that Paul and Timothy were not actually related. However, my dad and I have been blessed to serve along side each other in the work of the gospel. We both pastor churches, but we have also been on several short-term mission trips as well. Our first mission trip was to India, which was eight years ago now. The fact that we can now add another generation to this list is truly a blessing from God!
It is the job of Debra and I to continue this legacy and pass on our faith to our kids. I once heard a preacher say, “If we don’t teach our kids how to follow Christ, then this world will certainly teach them how not to.” God has given us a very important task indeed. It seems to me that we are stuck right in the middle of something pretty significant here, and, truth be told, we would not have it any other way!