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Tell “the next generation,” “children not yet born”

September 11, 2023

Daily Scripture

Psalm 78:1-8, Proverbs 9:10-12

(This week we share videos highlighting ways members of the Resurrection family have shared faith. Today we see that Scott Wells, Alan Swailes and Liam Davidson have shared faith over three generations.)

Psalm 78
1 Listen, my people, to my teaching;
tilt your ears toward the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a proverb.
I’ll declare riddles from days long gone—
3         ones that we’ve heard and learned about,
ones that our ancestors told us.
4 We won’t hide them from their descendants;
we’ll tell the next generation
all about the praise due the LORD and his strength—
the wondrous works God has done.
5 He established a law for Jacob
and set up Instruction for Israel,
ordering our ancestors
to teach them to their children.
6 This is so that the next generation
and children not yet born will know these things,
and so they can rise up and tell their children
7     to put their hope in God—
never forgetting God’s deeds,
but keeping God’s commandments—
8     and so that they won’t become like their ancestors:
a rebellious, stubborn generation,
a generation whose heart wasn’t set firm
and whose spirit wasn’t faithful to God.

Proverbs 9
10 The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD;
the knowledge of the holy one is understanding.
11 Through me your days will be many;
years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, it is to your benefit;
if you are cynical, you will bear it all alone.

Daily Reflection & Prayer


It’s easy to think of a legacy purely in financial terms (and that’s part of the process shaped by our level of economic resources). But Pastor Hamilton often reminds us that we also leave a legacy by the faith we share. God’s people have always valued sharing with new generations. In Israel, the focus of teaching was not to satisfy random human curiosity, but to pass on the knowledge of God’s powerful acts to future generations. They knew that God wants us to develop our own minds, and those of others, faithfully and well.

  • Psalm 78 said that while learning has present benefits, it is strongly future-focused. God’s followers, through the centuries, have played a major role in starting schools of many types. That’s because their faith teaches them to care about future generations, not merely about their own comfort and security. How important is it to you that your faith not just make your life better, but reach those who will be here after you’re gone?
  • Commentator Donald Williams wrote, “What is the purpose for this teaching?… it creates ‘hope in God,’ revealing the living God who keeps His covenant and redeems His people. Second, it reminds Israel of God’s ‘works’ (‘saving deeds’), protecting her from forgetting Him. Third, it leads to obedience.” * What people have played the most central roles in doing those three kinds of teaching in your life? How have you thanked them for teaching you?

Lord God, I want to live a life with the big picture aim of helping both present and future generations know your strength and ultimate righteousness. Please guide me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt

Emily Stirewalt is an ordained Elder in the Missouri Annual Conference, and has served since 2007. She is thrilled to be specializing in pastoral care of elderly adults as Resurrection's Silverlink Pastor. She is married to Randall, a special education teacher. They have two daughters, Elliott and Marlowe. When Emily is not in a care home sharing communion or with her family on another Kansas City adventure, you can find her curled up on the couch at home binge watching "Friends" or "Golden Girls."

I often say teachers are my heroes. Seriously. I substitute taught for one semester in between my undergraduate studies and seminary-I made it until 9 AM when a kindergarten class had me in tears one day. My spouse is a special education teacher and has more patience in his pinky than I do in my whole body, I am certain! I am so grateful for the teachers who shaped me, from Mrs. Duncan in the first grade to Dr. Angela Sims in Ethics classes during my master’s degree work. I am not called to be a teacher; I know that for sure. But I also know I was called to motherhood. And it turns out that I am teaching my girls so much. The responsibility is a joy and I am grateful for the opportunity I have to mother them well.

Earlier this summer, I realized that my three-year-old girl really does listen to what I say! Below is a story I wrote down to hold on to for the difficult mothering days when I need to remember that she is learning from me and what I am doing matters.

Last weekend, Elliott lost her favorite pair of Minnie sunglasses at the zoo-she was playing with them on the train and dropped them in the kangaroo exhibit. Oh, how I wanted to shame her! But I fought that generational curse and instead said “it is okay to lose things, I am grateful we still have you.” Tonight, Elliott and I got on the roller coaster in Planet Snoopy and I had my phone. At the end of the ride, I did not. A few hours later after a trip to Guest Services, she asked me if I was still sad. I told her that yes, mommy is sad because she lost her phone. And my girl? She said, “It’s okay, mommy, we not lose you.”

Our words and what we say to children matter so much. They are listening. We are shaping them. My prayer for all of us will be that they are words that lift this next generation up, encouraging them and shaping them to share God’s love! Oh, and for those of you curious—my phone was found. The sunglasses not so much, but she got a new pair for her birthday!

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Donald Williams, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 14: Psalms 73–150. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989, p. 53.