The Back Page – His Own Generation


“David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep” (Acts 13:36).
We are creatures of time. You and I inhabit a mere sliver of history and culture. Behind us stretch centuries of civilizations that thought and acted differently from us; around and before us lie yet more. It fascinates to occasionally scan a National Geographic, muse in a museum, or stroll the streets of a strange city to sense how shallow and selective our own experiences have been. Nothing wrong with that —it is part of being human. We can be and do and think only so much. How then to best use our three score-and-ten?
David “served the purpose of God in his own generation.” First, he served the purpose of God. Individual lives alone are little. How expansive to expend our energies on enterprises whose boundaries beckon beyond our own! “The purpose of God”—here is something cosmic and continuing, neither narrow nor fleeting. Serving the purpose of God offers us a task that is important and lasting.
Second, he served his own generation. David did not try to become a second Noah, Moses, or Joshua, important as these heroes had been. Their generations had long passed, along with the challenges unique to them. David’s generation eyed its own needs—a champion to challenge Goliath, a man after God’s own heart to replace Saul, a unifier for a fragmented nation, a psalmist to inspire Israel to praise and prayer. These David became.
If we are to follow his example, we need to know well our own generation. Though we learn from the past, we do not live there. Though parts of yesterday may have been better than parts of today, we can’t go back. David served the purpose of God in his own generation, not a remembered and idealized past one.
What are the needs of Second Cape and Upper Township today? Although our church may have been structured in such-and-such a way and conducted thus-and-so ministries in the past, do these remain best for today (and tomorrow)? If we are ever going to give a cup of water, extend a hand, teach a class, or encourage a missionary, it must be now—in “our own generation.”

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