There’s a lot of talk these days about the generational differences in the workplace. What biblical principles apply to help us navigate through these challenges and opportunities? What needs to be understood by those who are older in order to impact the younger?
I just turned 47 this week. I am grateful to have experienced the undeserved grace of God, and His faithfulness working in and through me, for yet another year. As I look toward the future’s horizon, I still view it with eagerness, expectation, and hope of even greater things to come.
I am also more cognizant, however, of the fact that the “fleeting vapor” of life that James speaks of (James 4:17), in my case, is evaporating even more quickly as I approach the 5-decade-mark.
Endeavoring to embrace that reality, I find myself wanting to leave a wake of impact for Christ and His kingdom by making intentional investments in discipling and equipping others: especially those who are younger than I.
There are multiple tension points amongst the generations to be sure. But there are also incredible opportunities to learn, to grow, to become more fruitful, fulfilled and to be a better fragrance for Christ at work as both the younger and older seek to learn from each other.
Enlightening Biblical Principles
Ponder for a moment God’s insightful instruction through Titus:
“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and endurance. Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanders or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. (~ Titus 2:2-3, NIV)
Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure… (~ Titus 2:4-5a, NIV)
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” (~ Titus 2:6-8, NIV)
Wow! Here are some insightful and powerful observations that can easily be drawn from this passage:
- God instructs both the older and the younger to teach, train, and learn from each other.
- Every generation and stage of life are prone to different kinds of hang-ups (younger lacking in self-control or focus and older getting a little cantankerous, for example). This is one of the reasons why we need each other.
- The way we teach and train matters. I find it interesting that the language of Titus’ inspired word from God changes to words like “train” or “encourage” when speaking of the older impacting the younger generation instead of “teach” (which just sounds a little more harsh, authoritarian, and maybe even a bit judgmental to many representing the younger generations). In other words, “come along side” to impact instead of appearing to be “above.”
- Both ends of the generational spectrum, I believe, want to see authentic integration between word and deed and faith and work(s).
- As all generations seek to follow God’s perfect instructions, the result will be a profound witness to those who oppose the gospel of Christ.
10 Enlightening Confessions from a Millennial
When it comes to working with and impacting diverse generations, I believe it is the “older’s” responsibility to take the initiative. That might be “old school” to some, but I think it’s biblical and a great place to start.
Along those lines, I want to encourage those of you who would classify yourself as being a part of a more “seasoned generation” to learn how you can better share your life and your wisdom with those who are younger from a younger blogger I’ve been reading.
His name is Zach Yentzer and you can read his refreshing and candid 10 Confessions of a Millennial here.
For those of you who would consider yourself to be more in the “younger” category of life, this “old geezer” would like to “come along side” of you and encourage you to also read 10 Confessions of a Millennial to learn how you can better articulate what you are wanting from those you might deem as mentors, and then take the responsibility to humbly enter into a dialogue with them.
Question: What nugget of wisdom have you learned about working well with other generations? Leave your comment below and share through one of the social media tabs below.