I wonder if you’ve heard the phrase “their ceiling is our floor”, before? It’s in reference to building on those who have gone before us in our walks of faith. It’s not a phrase I had paid much attention to until recently, when I had a dream that reminded me of it.
It was a bit of a tragic dream, as I was an onlooker of an elderly dying man who seemed to be well known among the people in the room. They were young, and they were panicking, saying, “but we still haven’t heard all your stories”, “but we need to hear more of your wisdom”, “we must learn from you!”
Reflecting on this dream, I thought of all the wisdom that those who have years on me as Christians carry, and I was momentarily met with a similar level of panic to the mystery people in my dream. What wisdom, stories, and experience could I be missing out on by not spending enough time with people older than me? Do I step out of my friendship group enough to allow other voices to speak into my life? The idea behind standing on the ceiling of the generation that has gone before me is a great one, but a redundant one if I don’t know what the generation before me has been praying for, or been seeing in the Kingdom.
There is no question that the current generation of students, and the coming ones, carry a refreshing zeal for the things of heaven, and are prepared to be totally wild for Jesus. However, with the eagerness to just get cracking, I think we sometimes forget to soak up the wisdom from those who have walked the walk longer than us. There will be people in your church who have been praying for a move of God with the same fervour as you have for many more years. There will be stories of breakthrough, of trial and perseverance, and people coming to Christ. All of which will build your expectation for what God can do in your city, among the students of your university.
To stand on the ceiling of those who have gone before us is to remember that we are not alone, nor are we starting from scratch. James Aladiran has a brilliant analogy to help us remember the impact of our prayers- they do not disappear, they gather in heaven! Just like the tap-tap-tapping to break a hole in something, each of our prayers is a single “tap” towards a breakthrough.
So, honour the way that those who have gone before you have spent their life on the Kingdom- find out what they’ve prayed for, learn from how they live their lives, and remember you are not alone in this mission to see heaven come on earth. To leave their stories unchecked would be to do a great disservice to those who have led kingdom-orientated lives before us.
Perhaps you have found yourself in a bit of a student bubble at your church- dare to step out of the bubble to connect with others in your church. Nab yourself an invite to lunch, grab a coffee, or get involved with serving at an event you wouldn’t normally be at.