Keep the Fires Burning

Judges 2:7,10

Pass the passion for Christ to the next generation.

Hans tended the fire. A man who was definitely not from my generation, Hans Petersen, died some ten-plus years ago, and at his funeral I was struck by something. Early in his life, Hans determined what God had called him to do. Then he just kept doing it. For years. For decades.

Hans was a deacon for something like 40 years. He volunteered at City Union Mission for a similar length of time. Nearest and dearest to my heart, Hans taught fifth-grade Bible Study for 40 years. Think about that. It is entirely possible that Hans taught not only the children of some of his early fifth-grade boys but even their grandchildren as well. I’ve been teaching college English for 30 years, but they pay me for that!

What kept Hans going? Nobody would have faulted him if, when he got into his 60s or 70s or 80s and decided to hang up his teacher hat. If he had taught for 25 years solid, he would still be an impressive servant, but something kept this man going.

Things changed dramatically in those four decades. Kids changed. America changed, but Hans kept teaching.

Today, as I work with children, I’m thrilled to see Hans’ grandson taking up the torch. A legacy of faith has moved from one generation to children and grandchildren and then great-grandchildren.

If the fire is worth kindling, then it is worth preserving and tending as long as our lives endure.

  • How would you evaluate your success at passing on your faith to your children or grandchildren? If you’re not there yet, how can you prepare?
  • What other younger people can you share Christ with? How can you be a discipler across generations?
  • Ask God to open opportunities for you to build and maintain the fires of faith around your life, for as long as you have life.