“The writers of most of the biblical books concentrate on those people and events that are central to redemptive history. This focus on great events easily obscures the fact that often whole generations are born, grow old, and die without them…For every biblical hero there are thousands of Israelites who know God only through what is taught by priest and prophets, and seek to be obedient to the law in personal devotion, in home and family life, and in worship of God.” -Graeme Goldsworthy (According to Plan)
Last weekend our family went to Danny’s grandfather’s 90th birthday party. Surprisingly, his grandfather wasn’t the oldest person in the room. At 91, his grandmother is the baby of her family and I was pleased to finally meet her 100-year-old big sister. It was a great time for Danny to interview his great-aunts and uncles and piece his family history together, going back to when his great-grandparents took the journey from Italy to Ellis Island and their experiences during the World Wars and the Great Depression and all the years that followed. It was a time for feasting. It was a time for old pictures. It was a time for the youngest branches from the family tree to play together on the grassy hill beside the church where we were gathered.
Most of all, it was a time for stories. Some were humorous and many were told through tears, but my favorite was a simple memory from my sister-in-law, Lauren. She told of when their family lived with their grandparents for a few months when she was a girl and how every single morning she saw her grandparents with their toast and coffee, reading the word of God together at the table.
At 37 and 36, Danny and I are among the oldest members of our current (and previous) church and we miss having the opportunity to learn from some of the wisdom that can only come from time and experience. Christianity today is often described as an exciting and dangerous adventure. Our generation tends to eschew comfort and conformity and focus a lot of energy trying to figure out how to be radical and relevant. I don’t think this is bad. I hope this generation can lead the way in ending human trafficking and that we will take seriously our call to care for widows, orphans, and all who are marginalized. I am glad there are voices calling us to move from excess to generosity and from judgment to grace.
At the same time, I hope that we don’t forget that obedience isn’t always exhilarating. Sometimes it’s much easier to make a great and shocking sacrifice than it is to be faithful in the mundane, when you think no one else is looking.
I pray, by God’s grace, that I would always be listening and ready to respond to any crazy call God might have for me and I pray I would be equally content if He wants me to “make my ambition to live a quiet life” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Either way, I want to number my days, to drink His word with my coffee, to learn to love God and my neighbor, and to “press on toward the goal.” I’m thankful for those who have gone before me.