How much do you love all mankind?
Recently one Saturday morning, I was finishing up my prayer time and Bible study, when God dropped a question into my heart. I had really felt connected with God that morning. Here’s what God asked me: How much do you love the people who will be born 100 years from now?
Just hearing this question kind of blew me out of the water. It was so unexpected. Honestly, I don’t usually give much thought to people that far in the future.
But it’s actually not the first time God has encouraged me to think about the generations of people who haven’t been born yet. One of the very first podcast episodes I did, Episode 8, talked about this idea a little bit: How to Experience the Spiritual Power of the Lord’s Prayer.
One of the ways I suggest praying the Lord’s prayer is, when you say “Our Father… give us this day our daily bread, forgive us our debts, lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil…” to realize you’re asking God these things, not just for yourself, but for others as well.
Of course, that’s pretty obvious.
How big is your our and your us?
The Lord’s prayer is not about just me or you, it’s about us. And one thing I brought out in that episode was the need to include more people in the our and us. The highest way of doing that is to think of everyone in the past, the present, and the future when you say our or us.
That’s a pretty big group of folks!
I was reminded of this that recent Saturday morning when God popped that question to me.
I’ll repeat it.
How much do you love the people who will be born 100 years from now?
As I share a few ideas that have come to me, I hope you will think about this as well.
What is your first response to hearing this question?
More all-encompassing love
For me, it instantly gave me a much more all-encompassing perspective of who we can pray for and include in our love for mankind.
Jesus said more than once, “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:39) In fact, Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:30-37) to broaden people’s definition of who their neighbors were.
I’m realizing the people who will be born 100 years from now, or anytime in the future, are just as much our neighbors as anyone on earth today. And we can love them that way.
The more I pondered this, another question popped into my mind: Is there a way I can live my life to have an impact for good on the lives of those who will be born 100 years from now?
This question, too, made me think in a whole new way about my sense of purpose. Am I living my life just for the present? So many people say we should just live in the present and not fret over the past or worry about the future.
There’s certainly wisdom in that. Even Jesus says,
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:34 NLT
And Jesus is right. But he’s talking about worrying about the future.
Jesus looking into the future
Actually, Jesus had a far reaching vision for how the world would be blessed by his message. He came, not just to help the people who lived during one small slice of human history and who just happened to be on earth, in a very small geographical area where he preached for three years.
His message was for all mankind, throughout all time. And he knew it. In fact he prayed specifically for those who would help share that message in each new generation.
The night before his crucifixion Jesus prayed for his disciples to experience their inseparable relationship with God and with him. But then he added,
I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. John 17:20 NLT
As I’ve said before on The Bible Speaks to You Podcast, Jesus has prayed for you. Every time I read or hear that verse, it deeply comforts me.
Jesus was looking into the future much further than just 100 years.
During his time on earth, Jesus was living, teaching, healing, was crucified, resurrected and ascended for all mankind. He had such far-reaching vision to know that his life purpose and message would continue down through the ages to bless and bring salvation to mankind.
Can we live to bless the future?
If Jesus could have this far-reaching vision, and live his life accordingly, isn’t it possible for you and me to do so as well?
It must be so.
Jesus wanted and expected us to, and knew we could, follow him in every aspect of our lives. Paul brings this idea out in so many different ways. Here are just a couple.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV
… we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV
Since we have the mind of Christ, who strengthens us to do all things, we can also have this far-reaching vision and be motivated to think about, pray for, bless, and love people who have not yet been born.
Old Testament example
This idea of someone blessing future generations is not found just in the New Testament.
God says to Abram, all the way back in
Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
… And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV
This blessing is still taking place today. The obedience of Abram and his receptivity to the fact there is only one God, continues to bless all the families of the earth today.
And if this is true of Abram, why can it not be true of you and me?
Think of how so many people in the Bible have blessed you. Sometimes we know their names. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes it’s one of the children of Israel. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s a man, sometimes a woman, and sometimes a child.
These people were probably not thinking of the effect their lives would have on people who came after them thousands of years later. Some may have. But most were probably just trying to survive in the immediate situation they were involved in.
You and me?
So how does all this apply to you and me? Obviously, no one is going to add your name to the Bible for people to read about 100 or 1,000 years from now.
But is there a way you can live your life today that would leave a legacy of love for folks in the future.
Now, just to be clear, I’m not just talking about setting up some foundation, or trust, or organization that will still be around 100 years from now to provide money or resources for people, although that could be part of the answer.
And I’m not just talking about the influence you have on your descendants.
I’m trying to think of this mostly from the perspective of what you and I can do now, with a spiritual focus, that will bless those in decades and centuries to come so they will come to know God in their lives and follow Christ.
I have just really started to think and pray about this. And I don’t have any definitive answers for myself. And it’s certainly not for me to assume I would know what that looks like for you.
But I do hope you’ll start to think about this.
How much do you love people not yet born?
Some of the ideas I’ve had are more typical things like writing a book sharing my spiritual journey and life lessons. But just publishing a book these days, doesn’t mean it will be around for very long. But you never know. Think of how archeologists keep finding old manuscripts.
Maybe this podcast, or at least it’s content, will be around in the future. But that’s a wild guess, because technology is changing so fast, who knows how information will be stored and shared 100 years, or even 10 years from now.
So how was Jesus so sure his message would continue to bless mankind in each new generation? Well, I guess you could just say, “Because he was Jesus and he knew.” And there’s something to that.
But he also had faith that his message and its power to transform people when they followed his teachings would be passed down from generation to generation. The best hope of his message going forward was for him to instill it in his immediate disciples so they could share it with others.
Jesus knew he would bless future generations
But it wasn’t just about passing along a doctrine or a set of teachings to memorize and pass along to the next generation. It was about living these teachings in daily life. It was about embracing, what I call, the mindset of Jesus, and being transformed and regenerated spiritually.
But Jesus knew his message wouldn’t survive the ravages of time and history just by a bunch of men and women trying to do the best they could. He knew they would need divine assistance. That’s why he sent the Holy Spirit to guide them, teach them, and remind them of everything he said and did.
You and I are the beneficiaries of this legacy today, because the Holy Spirit is still present guiding, teaching, and inspiring us to follow Christ and share his message.
It really comes down to following Christ. Jesus said,
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 NIV
This was true when Jesus said it. It is true today. It will be true 100 and 1,000 years from now.
And when Peter was wondering about what other disciples would do or what would happen to them, Jesus reminded him what the most important thing for Peter to do was.
…what is that to you? You must follow me. John 21:22 NIV
I think the best way for you and me to bless people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, now and into the future, is to follow Christ, in every detail of our lives, to deny ourselves, take up our own cross, not someone else’s, not even Jesus’s cross, and follow him. And we need to do this without comparing ourselves to other and regardless of what others say, do, or think.
It so easy to say the words, and we may not do a perfect job every day of our lives. But we can keep coming back to following Christ more closely.
Several years ago, it first dawned on me, and has become much clearer in the last few months, that I have to live the gospel of Christ in my own life before I can genuinely help others in it.
I’ve realized, that all too often, in years past, I could say the right words, could tell someone else what the Bible said about a given topic, but I was talking and preaching way beyond what I had actually lived in my own life. And to some degree, I’ve been able to help people all along. But now I see more clearly my own need to grow in Christ before I can help others as much as possible.
In the last six months or so, I have been focusing more specifically on what I need to do or think, not do or not think, to follow Jesus more closely. How can I help others do this if I am not doing it to the best of my ability?
Following Christ shows how much you love
The more closely we follow Christ, and I think our walk with Christ evolves as we mature in Christ, the more we’ll bless those in our immediate circle of influence, as well as those who haven’t even been born yet.
If you’re doing what God has called you to do, that will have an influence on those you know and they will pass it along to the people they know. And that’s how the gospel of Christ has come to us down the ages to this present moment.
This same process will continue. Even if people 100 years from now never know your name or that you even existed, the influence you have on the people you love and bless right now will have a ripple effect into the future.
Jesus fulfilled his purpose here on earth. He didn’t live his life just for himself or the people who lived in his time period but for all mankind throughout the ages.
When you live your life in fulfillment of your God-given purpose, you too will be a blessing for generations yet to come. How will that happen? I have no idea. But I deeply believe that when we follow Jesus’s example of doing God’s will in our own lives, as Jesus did, it will bless others, just as Jesus did. And there is no time limit on that blessing.
A lesson from stalactites
Now you may still be wondering how the good you do today and the love you express today can have an effect far into the future.
Well, here’s the analogy that helps me. Have you ever been to an underground cave that had stalactites and stalagmites? They were formed over thousands of years from little water drops. Every single drop contained minerals that were deposited.
Over the years, each little deposit from each water drop added to what was already there. And beautiful formations were created.
The Christly love we express today, adds to the love that has already been expressed in the past and will remain in the future, just like those stalactites and stalagmites.
The history books 100 years from now may not have your name in them or tell your story. Or they might. But your love for God and your obedience to God’s purpose for your life, will have an impact on the world today and for generations to come.
How much do you love?
So how can you live your life that will be a blessing to people in the future? How can you live your life that shows your love for people in the future?
Just thinking about all this has given me a deeper sense of purpose.
But it’s not an intellectual exercise. It’s an opportunity to be humble and quiet and listen. Ask God these questions. Listen for God asking you questions.
You may not get an answer right away. It may come slowly. It may come in bits and pieces. That’s okay. Keep asking. Keep praying. Keep listening.
The answer will come in God’s own time and the way that will bless you the most. If you have an earnest, sincere desire to follow Christ, to fulfill your God-given purpose, and to bless all mankind, the Holy Spirit will reveal whatever you need to know and do, and empower you to know and do it.
So I’ll leave with the original question: How much do you love the people who will be born 100 years from now? Let your life today be the answer.
James Early, the Jesus Mindset Coach, is a Bible teacher, speaker, and podcaster. He conducts Bible workshops online and in person. His focus is on getting back to the original Christianity of Jesus by embracing the mindset of Christ in daily life. Contact him here.
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Matthew 22:39 NLT
39 ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Matthew 6:34 NLT
34 So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
John 17:20 NLT
20 I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.
Philippians 4:13 NKJV
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV
16 … we have the mind of Christ.
Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV
1 Now the LORD had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
3 … And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Luke 9:23 NIV
23 Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
John 21:22 NIV
22 …what is that to you? You must follow me.