One of the ways that my wife and I define success as parents is if our son grows up to follow Jesus. Each of us were given a heritage of faith. Like. A baton in a race, it’s been handed down from one generation to the next. I was in my twenties when I first recognized that godly heritage for what it is. I remember reaching out to my parents and grandparents to thank them for investing in my foundation of faith. I was taken to church every time the doors were opened whether I wanted to go or not. I was given the gift of a Christian school education as well where teachers poured into that foundation. Now, we are doing the same thing for our son. We explain to him why we believe what we believe and partner with family, friends, church and teachers to build a foundation of faith in him so that it doesn’t stop with us.
Throughout the first few books of the Bible, as God gives Moses and His people the Law and the Commandments, he reminds him that these are not just for them. God specifically asks them to teach them to their children. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working” (GNT). He didn’t just tell them to let them learn about them at church or school. It was the parents responsibility to daily pour into the children’s foundation of faith. It was up to them to talk about them all the time and to explain to their kids the great things God has done for them in their life and throughout history.
In one of my last conversations with my mom before she died, she recounted every time God answered her prayers from the time she was a little girl until that day. After what seemed like hours, she looked at me and said, “God has been faithful all my life. Whether He chooses to heal me or not, I have peace because I trust Him.” It was one of the most impactful conversations we ever had. As she was dying, she was continuing to pour into my foundation so that I would continue the family’s legacy of faith. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first generation Christian or fifth, our responsibility is to pass the baton of faith to the next generation. I once heard someone say that Christianity is only one generation from extinction. Don’t let it end with you. Give your kids the gift of a foundation of faith.
Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
I have a friend who attended a leadership workshop. On the last day, he and the others were taken to a cemetery and were asked to write their own epitaph. It seems morbid at first, but the instructor was wanting them to to start thinking with the end in mind. It got him to start thinking about what he wanted to be remembered for at the end of his life. When he wrote it down, he started thinking about the things he needed to be doing in his life to make his desired epitaph come true.
One of the things I tell new employees at the company I work for is that everyone is known for something. I ask them, “What will you be known for?” I let them know that no matter what has happened in their past, they have a chance to start over and build their own brand. The brand they build for themselves will determine their success in the company and how far they want to go. Both of these lessons are true for each one of us. We need to be thinking about what we want to be known for and how we want to be remembered.
In II Chronicles 21, Jehoram was king over Judah. He was given a good legacy being from the lineage of David, but he squandered it. In his jealousy, he murdered all his brothers. He also rebuilt the shrines to foreign gods that his father had torn down. Parts of the kingdom revolted during his reign. God then cursed him, had the enemy attack him and gave him a terrible disease. In verse 20 it says, “No one was sorry when he died” (NLT). Can you imagine?
I once heard someone say, “Live in such a way that the preacher won’t have to lie at your funeral.” So what do you want to be remembered for? What legacy do you want to leave behind? Psalm 37:18 says, “The Lord knows the days of the upright and blameless, and their heritage will abide forever” (AMP). What do you need to start doing today to finish your life well and to leave a heritage that will abide forever? It’s not too late or too early to start thinking about the legacy and heritage you want to leave behind.