Pastor Kent Simmons

I was recently asked what advice would I give to future generations?

Here is my response.

First, be grateful. Although I scarcely know much of my own family history on either side, I do know that, at least some, survived long enough for me to be here today. I cannot imagine for a moment the hardships and heartbreaks they must have experienced along the way.

I have no idea how they were gifted or flawed. Certainly, they worked hard, but they also would have had passions, too. Were some skilled craftsmen, intellects, even poets? Were there artists, musicians, leaders, among them? Whatever it was that made them who they were is lost to time, but not lost in me. I am grateful for their sacrifice.

Be grateful for those in your family tree—nuts and all.

Second, be long-suffering. In an increasingly fast paced world, one that I can only imagine for the future, remember to be human towards others. Everyone makes mistakes—some big and some small. There will be times in every person’s life when life becomes too difficult and takes us down. Sometimes, it will be because we behave in an unwise manner, and other times because circumstance hits us unexpectantly.

Moreover, set your expectations of others low. In this way, when they have little victories along the way, it is a cause for celebration, not ridicule. However, be willing to “shake the dust off your feet” for a season if long-term patterns emerge.

Third, be kind. Like long-suffering, kindness is often hard to offer. “Kind” comes from the root word, “kin.” It means we are family in this mess called life. Imagine what a little kindness can do. It is saying, “I get it. I’ve been there before.” And you probably have. Think of embarrassing moments, stupid reactions, and shameful exploits in your own life. It turns out, we all have them. We are kin. So, be willing to smile and say, “No worries. I understand.”

Fourth, save some money. Don’t fall in love with money or possessions but be responsible. Even if you never marry, have children, or even a dog or cat, there is wisdom in never spending every penny (or whatever is the currency of the future).

Be intentional about it. You will not always be young or capable enough to work endlessly. At some point, you will slow down. That is when the stewardship of a lifetime will carry you through to the end.

Fifth, along with saving money, be generous with your money. Look for opportunities to meet needs through your philanthropy.

Sixth, when you fall in love, nurture it, protect it, and be astonished by its beauty and pain.

Finally, seek the highest and best version of yourself. It seems we were created for a purpose. Imagine the person in you that is most like God and act accordingly.

That’s my advice…

What would yours be?

Kent Simmons is the pastor of Canyon Community Church in Kingman, AZ.