Every now and then, I see something in the news (like a headline, photo or a quote) or, I spot something on social media that I can sense has a secondary, spiritual meaning. In other words, it’s a sign that points to a greater reality. This morning, as I was thumbing through social media and saw the post about Toys R Us closing it’s final stores, I heard something and realized this was being used as a sign. The ending of an era, of sorts (spiritually speaking). I share this mainly to convey what I hear the Lord saying through this….but also so you can catch a glimpse into how God sometimes speaks through things like media/news outlets. IF we have ears to hear it, prophetically.
First, let me say that for some time now, (I’m talking like a couple of years – maybe even five) I’ve carried a burden in my heart in that I felt like there are certain pockets in our wonderful body of Christ, that have been….perpetuating…..a level of immaturity in new believers.
While I firmly agree and support that our energy and resources as “The Church” should expand to reach, equip and strengthen the next generations coming up behind us, (us being my generation – GenX) I have felt that in some ways and in some places (not all, but some) this has been done at the expense of equipping the body of Christ in all generations.
I’ve often said that if we put all our best resources behind only one generation – our youth for example – we can create a mindset much like Toys R Us. (I’ve literally used their slogan phrase: “I don’t want to grow up I’m a Toys R Us kid” when explaining this to people.) I mean, if I was a teenager or a young adult and I saw that all the BEST was going into that little pocket / that little window or stage of life – if I was smart enough and attentive enough to pay attention – I would fret ever leaving that stage of life because it has been modeled to me that that’s where all the “fun” is. It’s been modeled to me that once I “grow out” of that stage, I’m not going to get the same resources, I’m not going to have the same fun. It’s not going to be as…dynamic. Certainly not as….attractive.
Instead of equipping this stage of life and growing them to maturity, and showing them (through modeling) what great value and resourcing will continue to lie ahead in the next phases of life, we can instead condition them to “never want to grow up.” Why on earth would they want to? This, in my opinion, perpetuates a level of immaturity. And it has grieved me.
Now please, don’t get me wrong. I’m all about reaching the next generation. I have two kids, ages 12 and 10 and yes, of course, I want them to be resourced well and exposed to the BEST the Kingdom has to offer. But I’m more so about reaching EVERY generation. And placing VALUE on every generation. And EQUIPPING and RESOURCING every generation. Because when the world looks at our lives, as a nation (not a nation as in, the United States, but a nation of children of God) we’re supposed to be a model that represents a THRIVING at every season. Strength in youth, strength in middle-age, strength in our older “Caleb years”.
They will be standing firm like a flourishing tree planted by God’s design, deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss, bearing fruit in every season of their lives. They are never dry, never fainting, ever blessed, ever prosperous. Psalm 1:3 TPT
So, this, quietly, has been a burden in my heart which I’ve taken to the Lord on many occasions. Consistently, over the last few years. It has molded and shaped how I do ministry and how I operate. Who and where I place value. Who I invite “to the table”. Where I focus my attention in how I serve my community.
Then, today, as I was thumbing through social media, this post of Geoffrey caught my attention. At first, it kind of made me sad. I had quick flashbacks of going to Toys R Us as a child. Remembering running through the aisles – eyes wide open, grinning from ear to ear. I remembered the annual Toys R Us catalog, right in time for Christmas, and circling something on every page I wanted. Then, I remembered taking our kids there and watching that same wonder and fun on their little faces.
But then, I heard a whisper, “This era has closed, and the maturity you’ve longed for is coming.”
It was then I realized this post was being used as a sign. The season, I believe, in which the former has operated, is coming to a close. It’s run its course, and while it’s had some impact – it’s shelves have emptied, and it’s about to be overshadowed by what is to come.
“I will pour out My Spirit on ALL FLESH”….
“YOUR sons and YOUR daughters…
“YOUR young men and YOUR old men….
“MY menservants and MY maidservants….
One of the things that always marks a move of God is the breaking of barriers. Unfortunately, when we elevate one group of people at the expense of another, we create barriers. On the day of Pentecost, barriers were broken. Language barriers, gender barriers, age barriers, class barriers, ALL BROKEN by the outpouring of the Spirit.
Barriers are about to be broken again, and in this, my heart rejoices. And I know that quietly, the Lord has been preparing a new group of leaders to rise up.
Like spreading oil evenly over a piece of bread, this is the picture I get: Resources are about to be spread out more evenly and it is going to result in a mighty move of God.
Children are going to start being equipped at a level that is much more powerful and much more appropriate for their age. I’m talking encounters. (And by this I mean we’re going to start speaking at a higher level to which they’re already conditioned to understand.) Youth will indeed still be a wave of power to be reckoned with, but it’s not going to stop there. Those who are beyond my generation in years are going to recognize they too have a place. And their time is now. (A time AND a place.) Resources are going to start pouring out from their oil jars and the flour bins they thought had run dry.
Oh what glory is going to be seen as the young are reconciled with the old and TOGETHER they go into battle!
In closing, Toys R Us was founded 70 years ago, in April 1948. It took on the form of Toys R Us as we have known it in June of 1957 (61 years ago, to this month). The one who made it what it was, Charles Lazarus, passed away in March at age 94.
Lift your eyes, friends. Be ready and willing vessels. Have your oil jars full and your lights burning bright. Be sharp in word and in power. Continue to forge your character into His likeness. Lay aside whatever weights have held you and think on things above.
To Him be all the glory forever and ever, Amen.
Linda G. Riddle