Does that sound ominous? What I’m referring to is actually the opposite! Most of us will not live long enough to fully comprehend our lives’ impact on the next generation. Perhaps it’s because I am now in my last quarter that I see the beauty of the generational impact upon both John the Baptist and Jesus.
Behind the man John the Baptist were his righteous parents, Zacharias and Elizabeth. They were faithful in their calling and waited upon God very much like Abraham and Sarah waited “in hope against hope.” Now we have a clue as to John’s dedication to his own calling.
Don’t you love it when the angels appear? Man, I do! I know they are ministering to us often, but I would love to speak with one. Not just any angel, but Gabriel himself came and told Zach that he would have a son, to name him John, that he would be filled with Spirit from day one, and that he would move in the power of Elijah to prepare a people for the Lord (Lk. 1). Now that is a calling.
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I’m glad Gabriel told Zacharias not to be afraid because a few minutes later Gabriel rebuked him and took away his ability to speak until his son arrived. I can only wonder how much Zacharias learned during those long months of silence; no doubt all this was preparing him to be John’s father.
Not bad for a dad, but check out John’s mother Elizabeth. When Mary arrived for a visit, “the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” Then she prophesied to Mary with profound revelation, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Remember, Mary would have been very young and not expected to be carrying a child.) Elizabeth continued, “And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me. And blessed is she who believed.”
Zacharias and Elizabeth were old when Gabriel surprised them, so I’m thinking they did not live long enough to see how God used their son. I’m thinking that we too have generational impact beyond what we live to see. Have you ever thought about that?
See if these questions help drive home this idea:
Who or what in your life will outlast you? Name as many as possible.
If you are a parent, what are you doing to help your children learn their calling?
Beyond parenting, what can you do to amplify your investment in the next generation?
Have some thoughts to share from your exploration? Post in the comments below.