“Then another generation grew up that didn’t know anything of God or the work He had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10
This was part of my reading the other morning, and it reminded me of some statistics I heard in a message by Craig Groeschel.
A Harvard Business Review article says only 10% of family businesses survive to the third generation. The first generation starts the business. The second generation runs the business. The third generation ruins the business.
Unfortunately we see this pattern in Scripture too. Think about Joshua. He leads the people into the Promised Land with great risk and reward. The second generation inherits the Promised Land. They haven’t fought any battles, they’re just preserving what’s been given to them and their worship of God becomes half-hearted. The 3rd generation sees the preservation and half-hearted worship without any risk or vision and they turn away from God.
Judges 21:25 says, In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
It’s incredibly difficult to pass anything from the first to the third generation. What does that say to us who are parents? What does it say to those who are children of faith?
I think about this because I’m a third generation believer and our daughters are fourth generation. As I reflect on my heritage, it is by God’s grace, but I’ve also reflected on how we cooperate with Him in the process.
My friend Helen used a phrase the other night that has stuck with me as I’ve thought about this. She said about someone, “It’s not her story.” I think this may be one of the keys to 3d generation (or 4th or 5th) faith. Whether we’re parents looking at our kids, or kids looking at the faith of our parents, we all need to say “It’s not your story.”
God is writing a story in the lives of my children. I’m to pray, and to model an authentic life of faith, but I’m not meant to grab the pen and think I can make it say what I want. It’s not my story.
God is also writing a story in my life that is different from my parents. There are no xerox copies, no plagiarizing.
God has a powerful story to write through your life too.
Each story is unique, but the themes of grace and redemption and love will be the common thread through all.
“God’s dream for you is bigger than a second-hand faith.” Mark Batterson
We’re each looking for the story that God desires to write with our individual life, but we also need to tell the story to others so that they too will know the faithfulness and power of God and seek Him as their Author.
In the end, it’s not really their story or your story but God’s story and we get to be a part of it.