By Grant Skeldon
A few years ago, some friends and I had the privilege of grabbing lunch with Bob Goff. And by that I mean he put his phone number in the back of his national bestselling book, so I called him. (Talk about making yourself available for people to join your life.) It was one of the coolest experiences because Bob told me something I’m never going to forget. Let me preface it, however, by saying Bob is a husband, father, bestselling author, public speaker, the director of Restore International, a lawyer, a professor, and the honorary consul of the Republic of Uganda. He’s also 58 years old.
Baffled by the amount of work he does for the kingdom, I asked, “Bob, how are you able to do so much? It’s inspiring. But honestly, I don’t know how you get it all done at your age.”
“I don’t sleep,” he told me without missing a beat. My friends and I laughed because we thought he was joking. He continued, “No. Really. I don’t sleep. Last night I slept for five hours and got my first call from Uganda at five in the morning.” He smiled and then said three sentences I will never forget. “I want to die exhausted. We have eternity to rest. Until then, let’s do things.”
That statement was so incredibly simple yet so incredibly profound. It wasn’t inspiring because Bob works so hard and doesn’t sleep. It was inspiring because he’s a 58-year-old man who dares to sacrifice his sleep and comfort for a greater cause. I have never in my life heard an older Christian say anything remotely close to “I want to die exhausted” for the gospel’s sake. A statement like that is seen as irresponsible and audacious. But I think the church needs to redeem the word audacity. Sometimes what the world calls audacity, God calls childlike faith.
When Christians have outlandish, outrageous faith, it reveals cultural Christianity for what it actually is: boring and ineffective. That kind of faith is contagious. And when it’s coming from an older Christian, it’s inspiring. It makes young people think, Man, I want to have that kind of faith at that age. What will it take for me to live like that when I’m older?
Steven Furtick said, “If the size of the vision you have for your life isn’t intimidating to you, there’s a good chance it’s insulting to God.” And just to be clear, a big vision doesn’t need to be moving to another country or having a large platform. It just has to involve doing something that scares you a bit, but excites you a ton. My generation wants to be discipled by older men and women who walk in a little fear and excitement when they respond to the Lord.
When you think about it, there’s no story in the Bible without a little fear and excitement. God always calls us into the unknown.
I’ve never seen one single story in the Bible where God enters someone’s life and says, “You know what? You’re doing great. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”
No. He always calls his people to a new level of obedience, if not a new direction entirely. God enters Paul’s life, and everything changes. God enters Jonah’s life, and everything changes. God enters David’s life, Moses’ life, Mary’s life. The list goes on and on. He’s a disruptive God. Even Job, who actually was doing great, had his life changed when God intervened. No one is safe.
I think Jacob got to do physically what we get to do daily, and that is wrestle with God.
In 2005, Steve Jobs gave a commencement speech at Stanford. He shared with the students a profound practice that he did daily. Every day, Steve Jobs looked in the mirror and asked himself the question, “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to be doing what you’re doing?” He then observed, “Whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
I’d say, whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, you’re probably not hearing God’s voice. Or you’re not responding to his leading. Because he isn’t silent. He’s quite loud once you want to hear. I just don’t know if we want to hear him. I think this is why Jesus often said, “Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Of course everyone has ears, but only a few use them.
Have you ever heard the Holy Spirit referred to as the Comforter? That’s such a funny name to give the Holy Spirit. Talk about misleading! Sometimes I think that name is just an inside joke they giggle at in heaven, because here’s the truth: In all my life, no one has asked me to do more uncomfortable things than the Holy Spirit!
He’s always got something new for me to do, and it’s rarely safe, easy, or convenient.
However, over the years, the Holy Spirit’s direction has become less scary and more exciting. Not because there’s no risk now. If anything, the stakes are higher. The difference is that I’ve seen his faithfulness. I’ve even seen his ridiculousness. I’ve seen him show up, and I’ve seen him show off.
I feel like God is slowly but surely trying to make us comfortable in the uncomfortable. Our plans and God’s plans don’t always line up. But maturity comes when we trust his ways more than our wants.
The Millennial generation will continue abandoning the church if the church continues to abandon the mission. But show me a church led by fearful, exciting obedience, and I’ll show you a church full of young people forming new heroes.
Adapted from The Passion Generation: The Seemingly Reckless, Definitely Disruptive, but Far from Hopeless Millennials by Grant Skeldon. Click here to learn more about this title.
Millennials have disrupted almost every major industry. Whether you’re a parent trying to raise them, a pastor trying to reach them, or an employer trying to retain them, they’re disruptive. As the largest living generation, millennials are one of the most studied but misunderstood groups of our day. And the chasm between the generations is only getting wider.
Speaker and founder of the Initiative Network Grant Skeldon pulls back the confusing statistics about millennials to reveal the root issue: it’s not a millennial problem, it’s a discipleship problem. Millennials are known for their struggle to hold jobs, reluctance to live on their own, and alarming migration away from the church. And now our culture is feeling the results of a mentor-less, fatherless generation. But how do you start discipling young people when you struggle to connect with them?
Written by a millennial, The Passion Generation will guide you beyond the stats of what millennials are doing to the why they’re doing it and how we can all move toward healthy community. With wit, compassion, and startling insights, this book shares stories and studies drawn from Skeldon’s years of working to bridge generational gaps. In his signature conversational style, Skeldon offers researched strategies that will spark healthy connections, and practical methods that will help you disciple the millennials you love.