I had a lovely lunch today with two Millenials. I only identify them first as people of that generational label because it helps to give perspective to our conversation. I’m a Baby Boomer, you see, about to face a numerical milestone of my own in a few days, so having the honor to sit in the presence of the younger generation made me feel good.
I would say it made me feel old, but I can honestly say it didn’t. While our ages were separated by double digits, our hearts were not. We were united, first and foremost, by our identity in Christ. This allowed our conversation to turn to his will for our lives, what he’s doing in and around us, and what we are learning about him.
As we caught up on each other’s life, we noticed another common thread — transition.
One friend is finishing her last semester in college, and seeking God’s will for the next phase of her life.
The other friend has just recently started a new job and moved into an apartment, without a roommate, for the first time in a while.
And I am going through my own season of change.
A frustration was shared about how their generation is often not valued because it is seen as a generation always in transition — they’re not settled, or not married, or don’t have children, or getting more education, or changing jobs… Their lack of settledness, which is so known and expected in my generation and above, gives the impression that they have not reached their full potential or even perhaps value.
So the desire was shared to seek purpose in transition. I told them that we are not promised settledness in this life and to remember Abraham. He was a man bound to wander, to move as the Lord guided him, yet I don’t think anyone can deny his impact on generations to come.
Life is transition; after all, this life is temporary.
Look at Jesus’ example. His life was not only short but never settled. He said, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”*
Our goal, as was that of Jesus, is to find purpose for the times. When we have an overarching purpose in our lives, it doesn’t matter what the temporary situation is, for the purpose remains the same.
I reflect on this by thinking back about my own life. I have known Jesus as Savior since I was eight years old, and by the time I was ten, I knew that I would be a missionary. The purpose has never changed in these forty-plus years, but the way I’ve lived out my purpose has. I’ve never “arrived” at my purpose, because I’ve always been moving or changing or using a different gifting for the time.
What was Paul’s goal in Philippians 3? To gain Christ and be found in him. To know Christ and the power of his resurrection; participating in his sufferings. Even the greatest missionary and evangelist in history did not consider himself to have taken hold of it, but pressed on. He had purpose in perpetual transition.
So, young or old, we press on, seeking to live lives of purpose to his glory. Our value, after all, is not in self or status, but in the privilege of being his ambassadors for our time.
Grace and Peace
*John 9:4 (NIV)