A few weeks ago, I had to have surgery done. It was what the doctor described as “a routine, major surgery.” It was something they did a lot of, but it was a major surgery. My greatest fear through all of it, was not the outcome of the surgery, but rather the changes I needed to make leading up to and following the surgery. I knew the changes were only temporary, and that they were for my good in a lot of aspects. But that didn’t mean I liked having to do them. One of the things I was going to have to not do leading up to the surgery, and for at least 4 weeks following the surgery was this; I could not get on the mower. For some people that isn’t a big deal, for me however, that was a very big deal. I enjoy being on a mower. I don’t enjoy cutting the grass as much as I love the peace and solitude being on the mower gives me. For the three hours or so a week, I get to unplug from the world and focus on worshipping God. The time on the mower is spent in prayer, in singing along to my iTunes, or feeding my soul by listening to other preachers proclaim God’s Word. On one of the last times I got to mow, God spoke so clearly to me through a couple of pastors and even in my prayer time. What was the subject on which God was speaking?
God was reminding me of my calling as a pastor to pass on the Gospel and biblical truths to the next generation. However, it wasn’t God saying, “make sure you share the Gospel this week or preach biblical messages.” Those are given, no-brainers. What God was saying was this, “train others to do what one day you will no longer be able to do.” And the illustration that God used in my life was handing over the mowing responsibilities to my oldest son. Andrew is certainly old enough, and he is more than capable of taking care of our yard. Fortunately, God wasn’t asking me to give up mowing at the church or the ballfield (yet anyway). I have been aware for some time, that Andrew was ready and needed more responsibility. After all, he is growing up, and one day he is no longer going to live in our house. If the Lord wills, Andrew will get married one day, and many of the responsibilities will fall on him as a way to love and provide for his family. Therefore, he needed someone to show him how. It was during this time of mowing for me that God brought back to my mind a sermon I preached a few months back, but also a book that I had recently read, and two sermons I had just listened to by faithful men of God.
Passing on the timeless truths of God’s Word and the responsibility of teaching those truths to the next generation is how we ensure the Gospel doesn’t end with us. Passing them on and the responsibility of teaching those truths is clearly commanded in Scripture. The apostle Paul says it this way in 2 Timothy 2:1-2, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” Paul speaks of four generations here learning and teaching biblical truths. He starts with himself and what he had learned. Paul tells Timothy, take what you have heard from me. Therefore, Timothy is the second. Timothy is then to teach those truths to “faithful men.” That is the third generation. Then those faithful men are to pass it on to others, which is the fourth generation. In a strange way, teaching my son how to take care of our yard, and then passing on the responsibility for him to do it, reminded me of my calling to pass on what God has taught me to others, so that they can teach others, and pass it on to even more people.
This isn’t something that just applies to pastors or teachers. This also applies to us as parents, but also to all Christians. Every believer is called to be a minister of the Gospel. We are to share the Gospel with those God places us in front of (Mt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). As a parent, the first disciples I should be making are the children that God has entrusted me with. We clearly see this in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Let us be diligent in sharing the Gospel and biblical truths with others, and let us also be diligent in intentionally investing in the next generation of leaders. In other words, let’s be disciples who make disciples who make disciples.