As parents and teachers, we are in the business of building the next generation. Every one of us IS a next generation, and have a next generation to come. Our children and our students are our ready-made disciples. Psalm 71:18 says, “Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.” As partners at Rehoboth, our Christian education system declares God’s power and might to his children.
We want the next generation to be ahead of us, not just the same as us. Psalm 78:2-4 says, “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from of old – things we have heard and known, things our father have told us. We will not hide them from our children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”
Testimonies and stories are powerful. Children love hearing them over and over again, and they help to form the ways that our brains learn. We were designed in this way, and it is the way that Jesus taught. Verse 6 and 7 goes on to encourage us, “So that the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deed but would keep his commands.” This is why our founders encouraged a life-long commitment to supporting Christian education – not just for our children, but for the generations to come. This is a foreign concept for us as we have grown up in a world with a “user-pays” mentality.
Psalm 112 is a great Psalm to read and is an encouragement to parents and teachers. It speaks about the generational impact we can have and how we are in a position to be an influence and a blessing. Some of these areas it refers to are:
Abundance (Verses 2 and 3)
The promise here is that, “each generation of the upright will be blessed.” And God is an extravagant God, not a meagre one. He is a Father that loves to bless his children.
Purpose (Verse 1)
There is a purpose to what we do – a reason for our existence. God is in control, and is working out his perfect plan. Is this our testimony, or do we only talk about faith? We need to be thankful for God’s provision, for the jobs that we have, for every day that we can enjoy his magnificent creation.
Integrity (Verse 4 and 5)
Without integrity we will have no influence. It will undermine everything we do and say. Integrity is built brick by brick, but it only takes one brick to fall out for the whole wall to come tumbling down.
Relationship (Verse 5)
The most important thing about families is relationship. No man on his death-bed has ever said, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” It is interesting that educators in recent times are realising that the most effective tool in teaching is relationship. Most of us can remember someone who was passionate about their subject or area that made an indelible impression on us. Some of us are doing the jobs we are today, because of them.
Hope (Verse 7)
In God, we have a brilliant future. He has promised us an abundant life. The world will end when Jesus returns, not when some environmental disaster destroys everything. God is sovereign, and rules and reigns forever.