Do you ever get annoyed when you’re three steps behind someone and they open the door and walk through it, but just as you’re approaching the door it closes in front of you?! Whenever that happens to me I try not to get offended, but the part of my mind that’s still being sanctified thinks, “Selfish human being!” And then I go through the trouble of stretching out my own arms, grabbing a germ filled handle, bending my bicep sore from GoodLife, pull against the draft, crease my shirt, just so I can walk through the door. Oh the hassle.
I know what most of you are thinking. You don’t hold the door for people because you don’t want to be stuck there for hours. So as you approach the door you use your Holy Spirit senses to see if anyone’s behind you, you measure the distance, and if they’re close, you speed up to avoid having to hold the door! You don’t want to be the person stuck holding the door for 15 other people who have nothing better to do than to take advantage of your kindness, right?
Nobody wants to be a door holder, but everyone wants the door held open for them.
THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING A DOOR HOLDING GENERATION
My parents came to the US as refugees. And as a 37 year old, the one thing I appreciate about them most is that they were awesome door holders and I never once heard them complain. I never heard them say, “We ducked communist bullets for you! We swam across the Mekong River for you! We lived under tarps in refugee camps for you!”
They never said that. But I knew they endured those things for my siblings and I. They held the door open and never complained.
My dad was 38 and my mom was 35 when they immigrated. At their age they knew survival wasn’t about what they could accomplish.
There’s a point in your life when you realize that your greatest achievement is preparing those who will come behind you. That time is coming quickly for Millennials.
MILLENNIALS ENTERING THEIR DOOR HOLDING SEASON
Many of you are Millennials. That means that the youngest of you are approaching your mid-twenties. That also means that the oldest of you are only a few years away from turning 40. That also means that the majority of the world’s population is now younger than you!
In a few years, life will not be about how much you’ve accomplished or have left to accomplish. Life will be about how much you can help those behind you walk in their purpose and destiny.
If you were born between 1980 and 1995 – you’re the most researched generation in history with the most marketing dollars invested in you and scholarly articles written about you. And I believe it when people say you can be the greatest generation we’ve ever had. But not because you’re accomplishing great things on your own. But because I think you are positioned to be the best door holding generation we’ve ever had.
As a Millennial, if you can manage to not give into the feelings of FOMO, if you can take your eyes off yourself for a moment, if you don’t mind humbling yourself to hold the door open and observe the younger people around you, you’ll realize that the next generation walking behind you is more globally connected, more ethnically diverse, and the most socially conscientious generation that has ever existed.
What you grew up struggling to figure out and trying to live out – they do it better and more naturally than you.
JESUS MENTORED HIS NEXT GENERATION
Did you know that Jesus’ disciples were on average 10 years younger than him. Jesus was 30 years old when he became a rabbi. In Jesus’ day children received Jewish education starting at age 5 until 15. At age 15, if a child was exceptional in knowing Scripture, rabbis would recruit them into a cohort. Others would develop some sort of trade, most likely their father’s trade. For those recruited by rabbis, they would embark on a multi-year experience with the rabbi going wherever the rabbi went, doing life with him for many years. Then at the age of 18 most young men would marry. At age 20 they would choose a vocation. But it wasn’t until they turned 30 that they had the authority to teach.
So it makes sense that Jesus was 30 when he recruited his disciples. All of whom were still young. The oldest being Peter who was married and Matthew who had a professional career as a tax collector. It’s speculated that the John, the Beloved Disciple, was only 15 years old when Jesus recruited him along with his brother James.
Remember the scene when James and John’s mom, Salome, takes them to Jesus to ask to sit as his right and left hand side? Now, it would be a weird scene for mom to take two grown men by their arms in their 40’s with full beards to ask Jesus for a promotion for them when he becomes king. But it’s not weird when you realize James and John were just teenage boys rejected by other rabbis because their grades didn’t cut it with them. Jesus took them in because they were average teenage boys.
With his disciples Jesus says, “The generation of the Pharisees stops with me. The generation of Spirit driven apostleship begins with me.”
Jesus was the greatest door holder that ever lived. When he died on the cross he became the ultimate door stop for you so that you could be unique versions of him all over the world.
He can make you a great door holder if you let him. If you follow him. If you choose the difficult path. If you take your eyes off yourself.
I’m going to make a challenge for you. It has less to do with your age and more to do with setting spiritual maturity goals for yourself. If you are a Millennial, you’re at a similar age to Jesus when he called his disciples and went to the cross. Ask yourself:
- Does God intend me to remain a spiritual teenager?
- Am I content to be a James or a John or am I ready to be like Jesus to others?
- Am I ready to mentor Post-Millennials into their identity and purpose?
INTRODUCING POST-MILLENNIALS AND GENERATION Z
Let me end my challenge by introducing to you to Post-Millennials a.k.a Generation Z.
We don’t know a whole lot about them yet. Part of it’s because of our current obsession with Millennials. We’ve spent all of our money researching Millennials! However, early research is showing that Post-Millennials are very different from Millennials.
They don’t remember 9/11 because they only studied it as history. The oldest among them are graduating high school. The youngest among them are entering kindergarten. They never knew a time without a smartphone. They think Facetime is how to make a phone call. They use Facebook to connect with their parents, but Snapchat with friends. According to sociologists, they are more independent than you. They’re more likely to start a business than you. While they have a shorter attention span than you, they can meaningfully multi-task better than you.
Also, they are marked by diversity and in fact they don’t even notice diversity until it’s not there. They’re the first generation to not believe in the American Dream. They will be more pluralistic than you, but they’ll also be more conservative than you. They’re even more likely to attend church than you. They don’t doubt God in the same way Baby Boomers raised you to doubt God. Because their parents, Generation X and older Millennials, (me) are true post-moderns. We taught them to believe whatever you want.
And according to census records, there are more Post-Millennials than there are of Millennials, Gen-X, or Baby Boomers. They are the largest cohort in modern time.
And guess what?
God made you are their mentors.
You are their teachers.
You are their door holders.
And they will be like James and John to you.