“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant” – Joshua 1:1
“and what you have heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well.” – 2 Timothy 2:2
I was reading in Joshua the other day and was amazed with the opening words, “After the death of Moses…” The whole book setting is framed in relation to the death of Moses. Most amazing and wonderful however, after the death of Moses, the Lord spoke to Joshua! The promises and purposes of God in the world transcend my life and the life of my generation. It’s always been true. God speaks to each and every generation; His voice comes to those who are listening in every day and age inviting people to participate in His loving and redemptive purposes in the world.
In Joshua 1:1 however, there is another important word, the Lord spoke to Joshua, Moses’s assistant. In other words, there was a connection between Moses and Joshua that made it more likely that Joshua would be looking for and listening for God in his life. The New Testament recognizes this truth as well. The Apostle Paul said (my paraphrase), “take what you learned from me and pass it on to others who will faithfully pass it on to others.” Paul passes it on to Timothy, a younger man, and encourages him to pass it on to others.
This got me to thinking, how does this look in the real world. In our culture, sometimes there is such an emphasis on the differences between the generations as we study people groups from Boomers to Gen X, Y, and Z, that you would think these groups are from different planets. In my work I have discovered that older and younger people can actually enjoy and benefit greatly from involvement with one another. Older people are looking for purpose and meaning and wanting to pass down something that will transcend their own life. Young people are longing for meaningful, real relationships that share honestly about the ups and downs of life, with reflection on what is really important in the sea of so much to sort through in life.
I believe that where you find an alliance of an older and younger person, where there is love, safety, and believe that best of both are appreciated and encouraged there is a powerful alliance indeed. I think this is especially true of passing down the Christian faith, but it is also true of passing down a heritage of goodness and character. It does not matter whether these relationships are called “assistants,” “mentors,” or “adopted parents, grandparents, children or grandchildren;” the power is in the relationship.
Who is passing on to you these days? How do you take it all in with appreciation and openness? Who are you passing on to? How do you show love, respect, and patience in passing on to those coming up behind you? Christians have always cared about this; people have always desired and needed this on both sides of the relationship.