The Old and the Young

One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. 
 (Psalm 145:4)
He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents.

(Malachi 4:6)
2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. 6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. 7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. 
(Titus 2:2-8)
The greatest divide in our culture is not the divide between races. It is the divide between the old and the young. One of the main comments that people make when they visit Everyday Church is how wonderful it is to see people of every age group worshipping together as part of the same church family. Most of us are so used this that we barely notice it, but take a look around the next time you are at a pub or restaurant. Other than with their immediate families, people rarely build deep friendships with people who are not in the same age bracket as them.

Throughout the Scriptures, the Lord encourages us to take a stand against this. He calls us to build deep friendships that cross the age divide and bring great glory to his name. The last verse of the Old Testament predicts that one of the great signs of the coming of the Messiah would be adults loving children and children loving adults. It prophesies that the Messiah would create a new and eternal Family of God, in which one generation of believers would build deep friendships with another generation, each helping the other to get a bigger view of God’s glory together.

We are a church that places a high value on safeguarding. We put proper boundaries in place for adult friendships with children and teenagers – but we do so to facilitate friendships, not to prevent them! One of the best ways that you can do this, even during lockdown, is to offer to serve at one of our weekly gatherings for kids and for teenagers via Zoom. But these verses also speak about a lot more than kids and youth ministry. They encourage us to build friendships right across our age groups. In Titus 2, the Apostle Paul encourages the older men and women of the church to build deep, disciple-making friendships with the younger men and women. We all have a role to play!
1)   Think of your close friendships. How many of them cross the generational divide? What would it mean for you to be a bit more intentional in this area? How can you commend God’s works to those of another generation?
2)   If you are a parent or a child, ask the Lord to perform the revival miracle that is described in Malachi 4:6 in your own family. How could you use these Everyday Devotions to create a daily habit of shared Family Devotions?
3)   Think of one or two individuals who are not in the same age bracket as you. What could you do this week to reach out to them, even during lockdown, to let them know that you are thinking of them and praying for them?
Father God, I thank you that you have made me part of your church family. Help me to view those who are older than me as my spiritual fathers and mothers. Help me to view those who are younger than me as my spiritual children. Help me to build friendships that cross the divide and proclaim your glory to another generation. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.