Summary: Priority of Christian life is "Faith expressing itself in love."
“THE ONLY THING THAT COUNTS” Gal. 5:1-12
INTRO – A man was going to bed one night when his wife told him that he had left the light on in the garden shed. She could see it from the bedroom window. He told her that he had not been in the shed all day. He looked out the window himself and saw thieves in the shed stealing his belongings. He called the police, but they said that no officers were in the area, so there was no one available to catch the thieves.
He said OK, hung the phone up, counted to 30, and then called the police back. “I called you just a few seconds ago b/c there were people in my shed. Well, you don’t have to worry about them now b/c I’ve shot them all.” Within 5 minutes, there were half a dozen police cars in the area, a SWAT team, the works! They caught the burglars red-handed. One of the policemen said, “I thought you said you shot them.” The man replied, “I thought you said no one was available!”
Life is all about priorities. Some of our priorities will be different based on our age and our needs. Lots of studies have been done about the priorities and needs of different generations.
- Seniors – born before 1930 – 35 million
o AKA “the power builder generation”
o Grew up in mostly rural society
o Fought in WWII
o Experienced the effect of the Great Depression
o Became a self-sufficient generation
o High degree of patriotism
o Knowledge of Xnty may be more denominational than biblical – more of a club they joined – just as they joined other respectable civic or community organizations – than a relationship.
- Builders – born between 1930 and 1945 – 39 million
o AKA “the silent generation”
o Taught to be seen and not heard
o Sensitive to the mindset and values of others
o Generation that was ready to take hold of the American dream – a house, a car, a good job w/ a growing corporation.
o “Don’t rock the boat. Just get on it and become a success.”
o Married early in life, followed by a large number of divorces
o Philosophies and convictions formed early in life and not going to change much
o But even though this generation may say that they have life figured out, their hearts still have the inner restlessness that G put there – they know there is more to life than a good job, a nice home, a secure world.
- Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964 – 76 million
o Grew up an indulged and protected generation
o Born in days when service stations were service stations – attendants washed your windshield when they pumped your gas
o TV became a strong influence
o Went through Vietnam War, campus unrest, hippie movement, free speech, free love, and the Jesus movement
o Got caught up in the greedy ‘80’s
o The “Me” generation
o The “change-the-world-with-a-cause” generation
o Want to know how Xnty works, primarily how it works “for me in my life” – will it help w/ my finances, my divorce and my children, my career?
- Gen X – born between 1965 and 1981 – 44 million
o Have been called all kinds of names – and they hate every one of them – Gen X (X is an algebraic term that can stand for anything), the whine generation, the boomer shadow, the nowhere generation, the “Why me?” generation.
o Generation w/ low self-esteem
o Many grew up w/ divorced parents, blended families.
o Latchkey kids
o Grew up watching MTV
o Low level of trust for any group or institution
o A fixer generation – trying to repair what they feel the boomers broke – they want marriages that last. Children are important.
o Moral relativism affects their thinking
- Bridgers – born since 1981 – 64 million
o AKA “the echo boom” or “generation Y”
o Long for stability
o Have a desire for what worked in the past
o Believe that there are no absolutes
o They are into “faiths” and any faith will do – very tolerant of others’ beliefs and faith systems – “God is whatever works for you.” (Newsweek, May 8, 2000, “Searching For a Holy Spirit,” pg. 61)
o The internet generation
o They want values and stability, but wonder if such things are possible
o Want to be a part of a community of believers, not just an institution
Isn’t it amazing to think about how different we all are? And b/c we are all so different, our needs are different and our priorities are different. Can be a real point of conflict and dissension, especially within the church.