Reflections on "The Greatest Generation"
On this, the 67th anniversary of D-Day (our invasion of Nazi-occupied France), I can't help but reflect on World War II.
My parents' generation has been called "The Greatest Generation" because they fought the Nazis and mobilized for the Cold War. What we forget is the fiscal burden they placed on their posterity, producing an American political system that seems utterly incapable of tackling any big multigenerational problems, including our national debt.
America has entered an irreversible downward spiral. We had better understand this new era we're entering. The American spirit -- "We are entitled to whatever we want" -- demands growth and consumption. We want the appetizers, the entrees, and the desserts, all at once. Today each follower of Jesus stands at the crossroads on the question of personal priorities. Will we surrender to the spirit of this age, or will we resist and join the downward movement of Jesus, making a conscious choice to deny the normal comforts and conveniences of life for the sake of others?
We honor those who die in military service, we celebrate the accomplishments of our nation's athletes, we honor fire fighters who perish in public service, but the minute a Christian young person refuses to accept the American Dream and voluntarily takes on an assignment that involves suffering we spend hours trying to talk him or her out of "going overboard." I am not saying that every Christian must become a professional missionary. No, I am saying that if you are really sincere about following Christ you will not be at peace until the whole world knows of Him, and you will be intentional about using whatever He has given you -- your wealth, your vocation, your vacations even -- to serve the expansion of His kingdom.
"What good is knowledge unapplied?" asked one of my pastors recently. What good is an education unless we place it at the feet of King Jesus? Students, my parents' generation, and my own as well, have failed you because we have catered to the rotten spot in the soul of our nation. We have taught you to expect instant gratification, that the "good life" is the only life there is, that extravagance and waste are the normal patterns of our human existence. We have clenched our fists -- not all of us, but many of us -- and have refused to receive the nail prints of the cross, unwilling to make even small sacrifices to reach the millions of lost souls in our world.
How different this is from the self-sacrifice of our spiritual forefathers in the book of Acts! Something is desperately wrong, and it is up to your generation to turn it around. The only way Christ will be incarnated to a lost world is through you. As the Father sent Him, so He is sending you so that others can taste and feel and see His presence.
Could it be that He is calling you -- each and every one of you -- to manifest His light and power in a dark world?
My answer is yes -- a million times yes!
P.S. If you are interested in changing the world for Christ, I want to hear from you. I'm currently in the mentoring phrase of my career, having approximately 6-10 years left of fulltime teaching. During this time I am looking for 5-10 additional students into which I will pour my life in our Th.M. and Ph.D. programs. My hope is that not only will your faith be strengthened, but that your love for the world will be deepened and the flame of His gift in you rekindled, so that you will be "blessed in your doing" (James 1:15) and not just in knowing the Gospel. I don't want one who preaches, I want the one who practices. I'm looking for men and women who are willing to put the Great Commission over pay and career advancement, who are eager to destroy worldly ambitions and selfish priorities and who are serious about following Christ all the way.
If you are interested, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 6, 2011
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.