Enjoying the Journey

A Word to Younger Preachers

Recently a precious friend introduced me as “a young preacher.” I love those words. In fact, I am now at the age where I want to hang onto them as long as possible!

As a younger preacher I am increasingly aware of the investment that older men have made in my life. All of us are building on foundations that have been laid by the generation before us. Sadly, many in my generation have decided that they do not need the instruction and influence of older men.

You know the reason: “It’s a generation gap.” Perhaps technology and the rise of new mediums of communication have contributed to this gap. Or perhaps the enemy has planted the seed and we are watering it.

Scripture says nothing about generation gaps. “His truth endureth to all generations” (Ps. 100:5). Only truth lasts. God designed faith to be handed from generation to generation. Many things change from one generation to another, but truth does not. God does not.

The continuance of truth from generation to generation is only possible if two things happen:

  1. The older generation is obedient to pass it on.
  2. The younger generation is open to receive it.

I fear that some in my own generation have developed an attitude toward older preachers. They are outdated, out of touch, and unnecessary. Enamored with novelty, we have become the Athenian generation, who “spent all their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing” (Acts 17:21).

Truth is not new. Ask Solomon (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Every child thinks at some point that his father is totally unaware of the real issues of life…until he grows up and becomes a father himself.

There is a wisdom that comes with age and experience. Yes, Paul needed Timothy. But, more than that, Timothy needed Paul. And so do we.

Increasingly I believe that there is a Satanic strategy at work. Where there is division and disconnected relationships the devil is at work. He wants to hinder the truth. One of the best ways to do so is to create a broken link between the generation that has it and the generation that needs it.

If there is a generation gap, it is of our own making. Older men must stay willing to patiently teach and younger men must stay willing to humbly learn.

It is ironic that many who are “open” to so many ideas are often “closed” to input from the former generation. God speaks much of the fathers in Scripture. This does not mean that they are always right, but it is always right to honor those who have been faithful to the truth.

At 41 years of age I sometimes find myself caught between generations. The young men think I am old and the older men think I am young. “Old” is relative. Truth is not.

Regardless of what generation you belong to, remember that you belong to God. We all need His wisdom.

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace (James 3:13-18).

 

6 Comments

  1. W. L. Graham on November 7, 2017 at 9:06 am

    Great words!

    It is so vital to have ‘generational teaching’! …for those we are close to physically (Prov. 4:3-4, 10 = grandpa, dad, & son*) and for those we are close to spiritually (TIMOTHY: I Tim.1:2,18 and II Tim. 1:2, 2:1 and I Cor. 4:17; ONESIMUS: Philemon 1:10; TITUS: Titus 1:4).

    *Also, note “son” in Proverbs. 1:8,10,15; 2:1; 3:1,21; 4:10,20; 5:1; 6:1,3,20; 7:1 — This father appears to have been very concerned with passing on Truth to his son!

  2. Kyle a coker on November 7, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Great article! Thank the Lord for the older preachers that have faithfully paved the way.

  3. Susie Hall on November 7, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Scott, I know you have had many Godly men who have influenced you. I remember you telling how Mr Lafferty encouraged you when you were quite young. He was such a sweetheart. The love of Christ showed through his walk..

    • Scott Pauley on November 9, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      I just told someone this week about the way he encouraged us!

  4. Mark Gwynn on November 8, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Just recently I have put James 3:13 & 17 to memory. Having read your council and seeing your appropriate verse is encouraging and gives me cause (always) to give praise to a wise Creator!
    Thank you for the fitly spoken!

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