“What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us; we will not hide them from the children; we will tell the next generation.” ~Psalm 78:3-4.
The apostle Paul calls life in Christ a race. He tells us to run the race in order to win. And we have to understand that this race we’re running is a relay. None of us is running this race alone. We’re all in it together. Someone passed the baton to you. And you are charged with passing the baton to others. Today we are standing on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before. At the same time, we’re paving the way for those who are coming after.
Nobody runs the race alone.
Notice these boys who are receiving the baton. Looking back. Eyes on the runners who are racing toward them. Stretching back with their hands open to receive the baton. Measuring their steps so they match up with their teammates.
Look at this girl who’s passing the baton. She’s running her fastest right here at the exchange. She’s given it all she has. Her part of the race is almost over. But she’s running faster and working harder now than she was at the beginning. Look at how she’s stretching and straining and lunging forward to pass this baton to the one who will run after her. Look how they’re both concentrating on this critical task.
Now look at the point of exchange. This is my favorite moment of a good relay. Notice how, for a time, these two are actually running together. Step by step. Side by side. In perfect rhythm. One finishing her assignment, one just getting started. Running. Cooperating. Sprinting. Enduring. Together at the point of exchange. Side by side.
We appealed to the older members of our Legacy church family last night to embrace their God-ordained mission of passing on the faith to the younger generations. And I want to repeat and reinforce that plea here today, specifically to those 50-years-old and older in our Legacy family, and generally to any of our older brothers and sisters who might be reading this today.
We believe the most effective way for us to pass on the Christian faith is through our deeply-rooted relationships with one another. And we believe those powerful relationships are best formed in our Sunday night Small Groups. These meaningful relationships are forged on living room couches and around kitchen tables. These bonds are strengthened in our homes and in our shared meals. And we need you older members of this body of believers to jump in with us.
We need you. We need your wisdom. We need your experience. We need your example of someone who’s seen it all, endured it all, and kept the faith. Our children need to see it in you. They need older people to look up to. We need your love.
You’re running the race. You’ve been running it a long time. But you’re not done. Now’s the time to pass the baton. It’s time to understand that we’re not running this race alone. As the younger lean back and strain with open hands to receive your love and concern and stories and faith, we need you to run faster and stretch out with everything you have to pass it on to us. You’re not finished. We need you.
Where else are you going to be able to have the impact on those younger than you? Not in our church assemblies where we sit in rows of pews and look through the backs of each other’s heads to a single person up on a stage and then go to lunch with people our own age. Certainly not in Bible class where, again, we naturally (and usually intentionally) segregate by age. It doesn’t happen there. It happens in our homes.
Please join us. Please work with us in forming intergenerational Small Groups where you can be energized by our kids and our energy and our relative youth, where you can be served by us and loved and appreciated by us as we get to know you in ways we never will otherwise.
And as we make the exchange, as you stretch out and we lean back, as we lock eyes and match our steps, as the faith is being passed in these Christ-centered relationships, we’ll soon discover that we’re actually running together. Side by side. Step by step. In perfect rhythm.