Follow the Leader
“thirty-one kings in all.”
Do you remember the moment when you surpassed your mom or dad in something?
Maybe they only graduated high school and you got your college degree.
Perhaps Dad always beat you in basketball and you finally beat him (even though he claims he let you).
Maybe your mom worked for minimum wage and lived paycheck to paycheck and now you have a six figure salary.
Perhaps your dad started balding in his thirties but you managed to lose yours in your twenties. "Take that Dad!"
The renaissance man, Leonardo Da Vinci, once said,
"Poor is the pupil who has not surpassed his master."
The goal of every generation should be to grow beyond the previous generation.
There's an interesting chapter in Joshua 12 which lists how many kings Moses defeated vs. how many his successor, Joshua, defeated. It's like a prize boxing winner's list of KO's.
Moses defeats 2 kings
Joshua defeats 31 kings
The KO's are a bit lopsided
To Moses' credit, Egypt is not included in this list and they were the heavy weight champions of the world. This list is focused on the kings who tried to stand in the way of God's promised land to the Israelites. But Joshua far outdoes Moses' record of defeating kings. The student has surpassed the master.
This should be the generational norm.
Floyd Mayweather Jr is considered the best boxer of all time. If you disagree feel free to step in the ring and tell him so. His passion for boxing was inherited from his father who put boxing gloves on him at 18 months old. When most dads are trying to convince their toddler not to hit, the little Mayweather was learning how to hit respectfully and effectively. The father and son's records are as follows:
Floyd Mayweather Sr
35 fights, 28 wins
Floyd Mayweather Jr
49 fights, 49 wins
The student surpassed the master.
The prophet Elijah performed 14 miracles. His student Elisha, who begged God for a double portion, performed 28.
The student surpassed the master. This was not a competition but a continuation of the same mission. Elisha was piggybacking on what Elijah started.
I was at church when a gentlemen approached me.
"Is that your son beat boxing?"
A crowd was surrounding my ten year old.
I have always prided myself on my beat boxing skills. I can not only keep a rhythm but I can throw in instruments like trumpets and an electric guitar. As good as I think I am, my son's musical mouth has surpassed me and he's only ten. Am I jealous? Not at all.
The reality is that I want all three of my boys to be
And more successful than me.
I pray that their impact on this world is more seismic than mine.
In the world of comic books, Batman is raised by Alfred, the butler; Spider-Man is raised by Aunt Mae, a house wife; and Superman is raised by Martha Kent, the farmer. In the words of Andy Stanley, "Sometimes your greatest contribution to this world isn't something you do but someone you raise."
I want the student to surpass the master.
Space shuttles are made up of 2.5 million parts. In a 4 day journey to the moon, not all of the parts of the rocket are meant to go for the entire trip. For example, the boosters help the shuttle to defy gravity and exit the stratosphere but they will never see the moon. They fall back into the Atlantic never experiencing outer space.
In the same way, one generation helps thrust the next generation even further than they will ever go. I might not make it to the "moon" but I want to make sure my kids get there.
Here are five practical ways we can help the next generation to surpass us:
Teach them what we know
Give them Opportunities
Celebrate their wins
Give grace for their failures
There is no success without a successor.
What are you doing to help raise up a generation of heroes?