Summary: Fourth of a four part series on how our church cares for our community through the ministry of our members.
Many of you have probably seen the 1995 movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus” starring Richard Dreyfuss. It’s a movie about an aspiring composer named Glenn Holland whose real passion is to compose a symphony, but who takes a job as a high school band teacher to pay the bills and to, he hopes, provide him with the time to write his symphony. But life has a way of edging out our dreams, and he spends the next 35 years teaching high school band, never finishing his symphony. When he retires, all of his former students gather together to honor their high school music teacher. One of his former students, Gertrude Lang, is now a governor, and as she takes the podium she says,
Mr. Holland had a profound influence on my life, on a lot of lives that I know. And yet I get the feeling that he considers a great part of his own life misspent. Rumor had it he was always working on this symphony of his. And this was going to make him famous, rich, probably both. But Mr. Holland isn’t rich and he isn’t famous, at least not outside of our little town. So it might be easy for him to think himself a failure. And he would be wrong, because I think that he’s achieved a success far beyond riches and fame. Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each one of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony, Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. And we are the music of your life.
This church is full of a whole lot of Glenn Hollands – people who are caring for and influencing the lives of others right where God has placed you. You’re not rich or famous, but like Glenn Holland you’re achieving a success far beyond riches and fame in the lives of the people you are touching.
I hope that over the past three weeks you’ve at least started to get a vision for how God has given all of us the opportunity to care for our community as part of the process of making disciples and how desperately we need the support and encouragement of the entire body in order to be effective in that process. But there is one particular aspect of Glenn Holland’s life that I’d like for us to focus on this morning. It’s the characteristic that we see revealed in Gertrude Lang and in his other students – the idea of perpetuating and passing on what we have been given to the generations which follow.
Obviously, Glenn Holland didn’t invent this principle. Whether he knew it or not, he was merely following a principle that God had put forth in His Word from the very beginning.
We don’t have time to trace that entire history this morning, but I encourage you to take out your Bible and a concordance and look up the words “generation” and “generations” and you’ll find that beginning in Genesis and extending all the way through the New Testament, there is a consistent emphasis on perpetuating the things of God and passing them on to future generations.
But since we’ve been focusing on how we engage in making disciples as we care for our community through the ministry of our members, we’re going to narrow our focus a bit more this morning to see how this concept of perpetuation applies in that area.
As Paul neared the end of his life, locked up in a Roman prison, he wrote a letter to a young pastor in Ephesus named Timothy. Today that letter is included in our Bibles as 2 Timothy. It is almost certainly the last letter written by Paul that has been preserved as part of our Bible. Because Paul realized that his ability to minister was about to come to an end, he was particularly concerned that his work would be carried on by others once he was gone. We’re going to look at just two verses from that letter this morning to help us understand better this Biblical principle of perpetuation.
The first is found near the beginning of the letter:
I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
2 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)
The second is found near the beginning of chapter 2:
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV)
In these two passages, and in the supporting material contained in the rest of this letter, we discover three…