Passing the Torch
We Prayerfully Value All Generations
By Bill Terry
“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders” (Psalm 78:4).
When the word torch comes to mind, I am immediately drawn to the Olympic Games; especially since the next winter games are right around the corner. If you can, try to visualize the bearers of the modern torch, as they pass it from one runner to the next in a relay format, until it finally arrives at the host site of the Olympic Games. I recently read an interesting article on the history of Olympic Torch relay. The article stated, “The Olympic flame symbolizes the light of spirit, knowledge, and life. The passing of the flame from one person to another in stages (the Torch Relay), symbolizes the handing down of this figurative fire from generation to generation.”
If is my belief that the Apostle Paul had this idea in mind when he encouraged his young protégé Timothy. “For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6 NIV). I love the imagery this passage conveys; spiritual impartation, passion, passing the torch, a leader in one generation cheering on a torchbearer in the next generation. Listen to the words of Matthew 5:14-16, as they are interpreted by Eugene Peterson in the Message.
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” 
The call to be a torchbearer is a worthy vocation; one that every Christ follower should give serious attention to as we prayerfully value all generations. The first seven verses of Psalm 78 flow with three movements as it relates to past, present, and future generations.
- Past Torchbearers – Psalm 78:1-3
- The Psalm of Asaph begins with a call to attention (v.1).
- He references the stories and truths passed down through the generations (v.2-3).
- Torchbearers are responsible for telling God’s story and communicating truth to the next generation.
- Today, we honor earlier generations of torchbearers who passed the torch to the next generation.
- Present Torchbearers – Psalm 78:4
- Asaph is clear that the mission of a torchbearer begins at home.
“We will not hide these truths from our children…”
- Asaph gives precise instructions on what to tell our children.
- The glorious deeds of the Lord – Healing, forgiveness, redemption and blessing (Psalms 103:1-5)
- God’s power – Salvation, healing and Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:18; Luke 5:15; Romans 15:13)
- God’s mighty wonders – Signs and wonders, God’s greatness (Daniel 4:2-13)
- Today, we honor all present-day torchbearers who are faithfully telling God’s story and imparting truth to the next generation.
- Future Torchbearers – Psalm 78:6-7
- Asaph sees beyond the present and visualizes future generations, filled with hope, telling the God story.
“So, the next generation might know them…even the children not yet born” (v.6)
- Asaph gives three instructions for all generations and what torchbearers must do (v.7)
- Hope in God – “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT).
- Never forget His miracles – “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me” (Psalm 103:2, NLT).
- Obey His commands – “If you love me, obey my commandments” (John 14:15, NLT).
- Today, we honor all future torchbearers who will faithfully tell the God story and impart truth to the next generation.
Our core value emphasis for 2018 states We Prayerfully Value all Generations. What does that mean? How does one model valuing all generations? How does one expose their children to this Biblical command? The Bible teaches, “Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.” (1 Peter 2:17, NLT)
I love to give tests. So, here you go. The final grade will be decided between you and the Lord.
- How many different generations are you personally connected with?
- Who is allowed within your family circle?
- Are your children allowed to learn from people of different ages?
- When was the last time that you and your family spent time with a family of another generation?