Leaving a Legacy for Your Child
The space shuttle Columbia – most of us didn’t know much about the amazing crew on the ship’s last mission until they were lost in that awful re-entry tragedy.
Now, we understand what truly outstanding men and women these people were – beginning with their commander, Rick Husband. Hearing from his family and friends, it quickly became clear that he was a magnetic follower of Jesus Christ. He quoted memory verses from Joshua 1 to prepare his crew the night before the launch. He prayed with his crew just before they met the press and boarded the shuttle. He molded his diverse crew into a bonded team.
And then there was the really touching thing he did for his kids before he left. He made 17 videos for his daughter and 17 videos for his young son, each one a “devotional with Daddy” for each day he was scheduled to be gone – it was Daddy with the Word of God and Daddy praying with them. Can you imagine what a treasure that has been for them?
He left them the kind of legacy God intends for every father to leave – a contagious love for Jesus, the teaching of God’s words and God’s ways, and a consistent life of Christlike love and purity.
The answer to, “How do you know that’s what a father’s supposed to be doing?”, is found in
Ephesians 6:4. It says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
There are men who might say, “That’s women’s work.” There are men who try to delegate to their wife the spiritual leadership for which God holds them accountable. Throughout the Bible – beginning with Adam – God makes it clear where the buck stops when it comes to spiritual leadership in a family. It stops with the man.
And that’s not supposed to be a bad thing. It means that a man can leave a legacy for his children that can literally change their lives and last forever. That’s an exciting prospect! Rick Husband modeled this God-given assignment of being your children’s spiritual coach when he left God’s Word for his children along with hearing him talk with God on their behalf.
One reason some men haven’t stepped up to building spiritual legacy could be fear of failure. We men tend to only do things where we’re pretty sure we won’t look stupid. We ask out a girl only when we’re pretty sure she won’t shoot us down. We show up for a sport where we can look reasonably coordinated. And because trying to lead our family in praying and exploring God’s Word is unsure ground, we tend to shy away from it, or we hide behind the fact that we think our wife is better at it. But God doesn’t buy any of that. There’s only one way you can be a failure in being a spiritual leader for your family – and that’s by not stepping up! Just do it – however clumsy and unsure you may be at first.
When your children remember you, will they remember a praying man, a godly man, one who loved and lived by the words of God? It’s the greatest legacy you can give them. In the words of the psalmist,
“We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord” and will follow God’s mandate that men should “teach their children, so the next generation would know…even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God…” (Psalm 78:4, 6, 7).
We never know when our own mission on earth will end. Therefore, we can’t waste another day working on our spiritual legacy. The greatest gifts you will leave your children will not be in your will – they will be in your life – as you pass onto them your living faith in your living God!
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
One thing I need to do more of to leave a spiritual legacy with my family is…
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:5And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.6And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:7And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.8And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.9And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.10And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,11And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;12Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.13Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.14Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;15(For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.16Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.17Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.18And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the Lord: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers,19To cast out all thine enemies from before thee, as the Lord hath spoken.20And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you?21Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand:22And the Lord shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes:23And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers.24And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.25And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us. Deuteronomy 6: 4-25