Serving Our Generation

Acts 13:36

David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): It is an honourable epitaph which Paul sets on the memory of David that he “in his own generation served the will of God.” He made it the business of his life to carry on God’s designs: and all gracious hearts touched with the same lodestone of God’s love stand to the same point.  All the private ends of a sincere soul are swallowed up in this, that he may “do the will of God in his generation.”

A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): If we serve God according to His own will, and in doing so serve our generation, we shall have accomplished all that is possible for any human being.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): But here may a question be asked, whether we ought not also to care for our posterity?

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): This is a question which ought to interest us all very deeply. We live in the midst of our own generation, and seeing that we are part of it, we should serve it, that the generation in which our children shall live may be better than our own…Even when passing away, David served his generation by giving Solomon some last charges concerning the kingdom.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): David was not permitted to build the temple, and therefore when he had made preparation for it, which was the service he was designed to, he fell asleep, and left the work to Solomon.

C. H. SPURGEON: What, then, is it for a man to serve his own generation?

I note, first, that it is not to be a slave to it. It is not to drop into the habits, customs, and ideas of the generation in which we live―he is not to serve this generation by yielding to any of its notions or ideas which are contrary to the Word of the Lord. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not only for one generation, it is for all generations. It is the faith which needed to be only “once for all delivered to the saints;” it was given stereotyped as it always is to be…That man serves his generation best who is not caught by every new current of opinion, but stands firmly by the truth of God, which is a solid, immovable rock―Look you, sirs, there are ages to come. If the Lord does not speedily appear, there will come another generation, and another, and all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to His truth today.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): If I profess, with the loudest voice and clearest exposition, every portion of the truth, except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefields besides, is mere flight and disgrace, if he flinches at that point.

C. H. SPURGEON: If any man says, “The world is so bad, that I will avoid coming into contact with it altogether; even the teaching of Christianity has become so diluted, and is so thoroughly on the Down-grade, that I will have nothing to do with it,” he is certainly not serving his own generation. If he shall shut himself up like a hermit in his cave, and leave the world to go to ruin as it may, he will not be like David. She that goes into a nunnery, and he that enters a monastery are like soldiers who run away, and hide among the baggage. You must not do anything of the sort. Come forward and fight evil, and triumph over it, whether it be evil of doctrine, evil of practice, or evil of any other kind. Be bold for Christ; bear your witness, and be not ashamed. If you do not take your stand in this way, it can never truly be said of you that you served your generation. Instead of that, the truth will be that you allowed your generation to make a coward of you, or, to muzzle you like a dog, and to send you out, into the streets neither to bark nor to bite, nor to do anything by which you might prove that there is a soul within you.

MATTHEW HENRY: We may be useful and serviceable to others for their instruction―knowledge is given us to do good with, that others may light their candle at our lamp.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): This is abundantly exemplified in David.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): David, in the different periods of his varied life, was placed in almost every situation in which a believer, be he rich or poor in this world’s goods, can be placed.  This is one feature which makes the study of his life of such practical interest unto us today. And this also it was which experimentally fitted him to write so many Psalms, which the saints of all ages have found so perfectly suited to express unto God the varied feelings of their souls.

JOHN CALVIN: The ministry of the godly is also profitable for the posterity, as we see that David, being dead, doth profit us more at this day than a great part of those which live with us―the sum is, that we must have respect first to our time, that we may serve our brethren, with whom and among whom we lead our life; and, secondly, we must do our endeavour that the fruit of our ministry may redound unto our posterity.

MATTHEW HENRY: Even those that are in a lower and narrower sphere must look upon it that they live to serve their generation.

J. R. MILLER (1840-1912): We are apt to overlook the minor actors in Scripture stories in our absorbed interest in the prominent ones. Yet often these lesser people are just as important in their own place, and their service is just as essential to the final success of the whole as the greater ones. The little girl in the story of Naaman the leper is scarcely seen among the splendours of the Syrian court; but without her part, we would never have had the story at all.  The young lad with the basket is hardly ever thought of when we read the account of the miracle; but they were his loaves with which the Master fed all those hungry thousands that day on the green grass. The smallest links in a chain are often quite as important as the greatest links…And perhaps our lowly part may some day prove to have been as essential as the great deeds which all men praise. We may at least help some others in doing the great things that they are set to do in this world.

C. H. SPURGEON: It is truly written, “None of us liveth to himself.” we either help or hinder those amongst whom we dwell. Let us see to it that we serve our age, and become stepping-stones rather than stumbling-blocks to those by whom we are surrounded.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Why art thou here, thou who art yet in the world? Is it not that thou also mayest serve the will of God? Art thou serving it now?


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