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Baby Boomers: Why Shall We Then Live?

by Tom Stewart

August 6, 2000

In the United States of America, a steep increase in the birthrate following World War 2, produced about 78 million babies, which eventually accounted for close to one-third of America's population in 1980. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance" (Psalm 33:12). In the 1970s, the birthrate dropped, leaving an uneven age distribution, which affected education, jobs, Social Security, etc. "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward" (127:3). This American demographic phenomenon is commonly referred to as the Baby Boom, with its statistical population of Boomers presently (c. 2000) between 36 and 54 years of age. As of June 1st 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau recorded the population of the United States as 274,912,000. The material prosperity of the Boomers-- 28% of the total population-- is so much greater than their parents, that the median family income of a household headed by someone between 36 and 54 has risen from $3,440 in 1947 to $61,833 in 1998. Adjusted for inflation, that 1947 household income would still be only equated to $23,170 in 1998 dollars. "But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the Earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 9:24).

What is the significance of the American Baby Boom? To many, if not most, of the Boomers, the significance of the Baby Boom, is MATERIAL PROSPERITY.
"And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth" (Deuteronomy 8:17). The accumulated security of property, possessions, savings, pensions, retirements, annuities, and health plans, position the Boomers to focus less on finishing putting their children through school, and more upon leisurely pursuits. "But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day" (8:18). With more of a tendency to be in financial debt, e.g., credit cards, mortgage, and children's college tuition, Boomers are looking forward to their "empty nest" years as a time to reap the benefits of their lifetime of work. In a word, they are looked upon by the marketing researchers as the "power consumers" of this new millennium. "13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the LORD will, we shall live, and do this, or that" (James 4:13-15).

This writer-- also, a Baby Boomer-- recently was told about another prosperous looking, middle class Boomer, who described, with much satisfaction, the success of her 27 year old son in managing a grocery store in the Pacific Northwest of the US. In essence, she advised her son to do whatever he had to do to succeed. "Step on their heads, and don't look back," was her worldly-wise advice. I was dismayed at this recounting, because I had also met the individual, but was not aware, at that time, of this sadly wicked advice.
"1 And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye princes of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? 2 Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; 3 Who also eat the flesh of My people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron" (Micah 3:1-3). Unfortunately, the ungodly advice of this woman, flies in the face of the Law of God-- which enjoins, "Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself" (Luke 10:27). Multiplying such instances throughout the population of America, only increases the need of God judging the land. "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).

The question needs to be asked, "Why should we then live?" For what reason do we live? The answer of those who know the forgiveness of sins that the Father gives, i.e.,
"13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His Dear Son: 14 In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:13-14), is that we ought to live for God and not for self. "That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God" (1Peter 4:2). The only truly unselfish individual is the one who truly loves God. "If any man love God, the same is known of Him" (1Corinthians 8:3). The evidence of that love of God can be seen in:

(1) our obedience to God, i.e., "For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments: and His Commandments are not grievous" (1John 5:3), and

(2) our love of the Brethren, i.e.,
"If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God Whom he hath not seen?" (4:20).

Only through the forgiveness available through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, can any Baby Boomer escape the trap of materialism, i.e., "supposing that gain is Godliness" (1Timothy 6:5). The Gospel assumes that love is the one debt that can never be fully discharged, i.e., "14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also" (Romans 1:14-15). However, our past neglect of not loving God supremely and not loving our neighbour equally as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40) has accumulated a sinful debt that can never be repaid. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Our sin has justly earned for us the punishment of Eternal Death. "For the wages of sin is death" (6:23). But, the "gift of God is Eternal Life through Jesus Christ our LORD" (6:23). Strangely, to our minds, Eternal Life and the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ, comes through the simple act of repenting (willingly turning away from our sins) and believing the Gospel. "11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us Eternal Life, and this Life is in His Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath Life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not Life" (1John 5:11-12). Exactly who has the Son of God in their life? Those who put their trust in Him to save them. "9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto Salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).

May Jesus Christ be your reason for living.

Amen, and Amen.

Tom Stewart

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