Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.
This last month I and our children’s pastor Jacob Poetzl have been writing about the parenting of teenagers, young kids and babies. I wanted to pass on some extended thoughts on the subject for the next two weeks. What follows are excerpts from a small book I wrote last year called Intentional Impressions for Future Generations. This book was specifically written for Dads and their boys but the principles can be applied to both genders.
The full and free version of this book can be found at www.johnfehlen/whitepapers.
In Deuteronomy 6:6-8, the writer encourages the older generation to impress the commands of the Lord upon the heart of their children. In a nutshell, every Joshua needs a Moses. Young people desire to have older, wiser individuals impart blessing and instruction. Fathers, both biological and relational, are so vital. In today’s culture, fathers are often deemed unnecessary and deadbeat, when in reality they are the key to our next generation.
The opening words of Deuteronomy speak to this: “But your assistant, Joshua, will enter. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it [the Promise Land]” (Deuteronomy 1:38). Moses would not live forever, and it was vital for him to intentionally impart all he could into his young apprentice. In Joshua 1:2 we discover “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land…” (Joshua 1:2). Notice the text: “Moses my servant is dead…” (vs. 2). In no translation or paraphrase does this denote that Moses is no longer to be honored or esteemed for his incredibly valuable contribution to the Kingdom. All throughout the Book of Joshua we read of a blessed man that led the Israelites as far as God would allow. In no way are we given permission as Christians to speak negatively about our forefathers and those that have paved the way for the next generation. We’re not to “rag on” Moses, nor our fathers. Rather, they are to be honored. Moses was told to encourage Joshua, his assistant. Do your young people receive your encouragement or do they only get your chastisement and ridicule?
In the New Testament, Barnabas was known as the “son of encouragement.” In other words, his name denoted his nature. His designation was his demeanor. Acts 11 records just one of many examples of Barnabas’ encouraging spirit and this time it involved a young, upstart named Saul. We know him now as Paul the Apostle. I often wonder if he would have ever became a Paul if it wasn’t for the encouragement of Barnabas and the interest that he took in the “long-shot” with the dicey reputation. How many potential Paul’s are there within our sphere of influence that are trapped in the externals of Saul – complete with a history; recognized as a troublemaker; and misunderstood by the populace?
Can we be a Barnabas? Can we be a Moses? Can we be an encourager of future generations?