“This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you…” (1 Peter 1:10-12 NLT).
Much like the prophets of old, our lives serve the generations to follow. To use the analogy of a relay race, those who have invested in our lives have handed the baton to us, so to speak. We, in turn, will hand something off to the generation that succeeds us. The question is, will we hand them something good, or will we hand them something else?
At the risk of sounding pedantic, every new generation replaces their predecessors. These older generations trust that the investments they have made in these younger generations will continue to bear fruit long after they are gone. But much like an assembly line, each new generation invests in the generation that follows.
No one escapes this responsibility, for whatever we do (or don’t do) will impact those who follow, perhaps for generations to come. In fact, we might even say that everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, holds a leadership position from this perspective.
You see, one does not need to possess a leadership title in order to be a leader, for we are already leaders in certain respects. Everyone has a circle of influence, even if it is only among a few select individuals. For instance, we may be in a position to influence friends, classmates, or co-workers. Our words and actions will influence teammates, roommates, family members, or others. In today’s worldwide social media age, we possess the ability to influence those we’ve never met in person.
So how can we serve and lead the generations to follow? We can do so by applying Paul the Apostle’s counsel to a young church leader named Timothy: “…set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV). With this in mind, we should remember that everyone teaches and instructs others through the example of their lives. Some teach others what to do, while some teach others what not to do.
We can honor God and serve those who follow when we set the right example for others in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.