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Pastor Granillo: Generational Gap

on October 8, 2017 - 6:40am
By Pastor Raul Granillo
La Vista Church of the Nazarene
White Rock
 
There was no respect for youth when I was young, and now that I am old, there is no respect for age — I missed it coming and going.  – J.B. Priestly
 
I am definitely a Generation X’er. I grew up as a latchkey kid, with divorced parents, who watched actual music videos on MTV, and knew how to tweak the TV enough to watch Showtime after dark. My mother is part of the Silent Generation. She is a firm believer in “waste not, want not,” simple living, and traditional values.
 
My father, on the other hand, is a bit harder to place. He was born in rural Mexico in the mid-50’s. He went to school until around age 7 when he was taken out so that he could work on my grand-pa’s farm. My father came to America in the early 70’s and brought with him traditional views of life and work. He believed that hard work was the most important thing to a man’s life, and I believed that the future belonged to the academic. We were worlds apart and it seemed like we had little to offer each other. I look at my own kids and realize that our worlds can seem just as far apart as well.
 
The Bible tells us the story of Samuel. Samuel’s mother was barren and prayed that God would grace her with a son.
 
And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head." (NIV, 1 Samuel 1:11). 
 
She conceived Samuel and, after he was weaned, she brought him to the house of the Lord where he would be raised by Eli, the priest. Samuel would grow up to become a great prophet who served the Lord with great integrity and led the people in the ways of the Lord. This was something the people missed with Eli whose biological sons were corrupt and treated the people poorly. It is easy to look at Samuel and think that the next generation is always better than the last.
 
I remember thinking that I loved my parents but that they really didn’t have anything relevant to offer me. My dad didn’t understand the need for education, or my fascination with video games and global news. My mom seemed out of touch with the latest and greatest in pop-culture. I genuinely wanted to connect with them and to learn from them, but I wasn’t sure it was possible.
 
I often meet people who feel the same way about the previous generations. As if they have little to offer in a world where culture changes faster than the iPhone.
 
Think about it, what once took a decade or more to significantly change our society, now happens in only a few years at a time. It seems as if our generational culture gaps are getting bigger, over smaller periods of time. Our age gaps seem to have less and less in common.
 
One day, the Lord came to Samuel and called out to him. Samuel, however, didn’t recognize the voice as the Lord’s and thought Eli was calling him. The Bible says:
 
The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. (NIV, 1 Samuel 3:8-9)
 
Samuel needed Eli’s wisdom to recognize that it was the voice of God calling Him and to teach Him how to respond. You see, Samuel needed Eli to teach and encourage him to reach his potential for serving God and the people. The new generation would do well to consider the reality of this lesson.
 
I was mistaken about my parents. Without their continuous encouragement and wise words, I never would have become the person that I am, or the person that I am still becoming. As a father, I look in the mirror and see many of the same faces that my father once made. As a child, I thought it was disappointment. As an adult, I realize that it’s heartbreak and fear that maybe my babies don’t need me after all.
 
Over the last year, I have worked to connect upcoming clergy with more seasoned clergy. I have heard the older one’s make remarks about the next generation, and I have heard the younger ones make remarks about the last generation. I found that the older generations are, most often, excited about this technologically advanced and socially concerned generation. However, they often feel as if they have nothing to offer or that the next generation will neglect the traditions that they once held so dear.
 
I have also realized that the next generation are a lot like my kids. They already know more than I did at their age (and some things that I just didn’t know at all), and they are excited to share that with me. They want me to be excited with them, encourage them, and be proud of them for what they are doing. This next generation, I have learned, wants for their elders to get excited with them, encourage them, mentor them, and be proud of them for what they are doing and what they will do for our world.
 
So, I want to encourage you—regardless of what generation you are—find someone to mentor and to encourage. At the same time, find someone to mentor you and to encourage you. You see, even Samuel was replaced by the next-best thing—a king. Be the one who paves the way, and be the one who encourages others to build new roads.
 
We must intentionally fill the generation gaps or we will continue to lose touch with ourselves.
 
If you have a Biblical question, comment, or concern, please feel free to email me at raul@lavistanaz.org.
 
To find out more about La Vista Church, or to hear this and other messages, visit our website at www.lavistanaz.org. Follow Pastor Raul on Twitter @RaulGranillo007
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!

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