Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our Legacy

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 
And 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.”  Deuteronomy 6:6,7  (KJV)

Did you ever stop and think of your own mortality?  I know…I know…it isn’t a pleasant thought.  But, the fact is, all of us will die one day.  Our place will be left vacant.  We will leave a legacy behind.  What kind will we leave?  How will we be remembered?  We are now writing our life’s story…each and every day.  We are leaving impressions, fingerprints, and footprints everywhere we go.  We pass in and out of some people’s lives, never to leave more than a passing impression that is soon forgotten.  Others, who are closer to us and with whom we have more interaction will be more profoundly influenced and affected by who we are and what we do.

I’d like to insert an article I found and read years ago.  It was written by Sharilyn Martin, an excerpt taken from the book “Hand That Rocks the Cradle”.

“Come with me to an old farmhouse where a mother kneels in prayer.  Tears flow as she cries out to God for strength to go on, for the sake of her three little ones.  If only her husband would be a Godly man and a spiritual leader!  Although he provides the material needs of his family, his neglect of their emotional and spiritual needs is a burden that threatens to crush her.  The flame of faith burns feebly tonight, and she feels like giving up.  Is the struggle worth it? 
Go with me, fifty years later, to a softly lighted chapel where the woman’s wasted body now lies in a coffin.  Her children, adults now, speak reverently of the mother who provided a guiding light through their formative years, drawing them to their own faith in her Savior.  A score of young Christian men and women look lovingly on their grandmother’s face.  Tomorrow her grandsons will carry her to her grave.  Tomorrow they will sing of a praying mother and a grandma who loved Jesus. 
Was the struggle worth it?
My imagination pushes the fast-forward button of time, and another fifty years slip by.  In my mind’s eye, I see another coffin in the chapel – not my grandmother’s, but mine.  The little ones that snuggle in my arms today will then be grown men and women with families of their own.  What will the picture look like?
Today I am painting that picture of tomorrow.  Today the colors are wet in my hands, but tomorrow they will have dried.  What kind of legacy will I leave?”

Sobering thought, huh?  For those of us who still have little ones at home, the paint being still wet in our hands drives home a very serious point.  What I am doing today, living in the same home with him, knowing his little eyes and ears are absorbing it all, fills me with a great sense of responsibility….to God and to my child.  How will he remember his Mama when I am gone and have passed off the scene?  Will I leave behind the legacy of a praying mother?  Will he remember seeing in me a servant’s heart?  Will memories of my life lived before him day by day bring recollections of godliness, holy living, and kind deeds?

Sometimes, we think they aren’t paying attention.  That it isn’t really all that important to get our own spiritual needs met so we can pass on a Godly legacy to them.  But, it is direly important.  It is of utmost necessity.  If you and I don’t train them and instill in their impressionable hearts a true love and respect and belief in Almighty God, who will?  The public school system?  Television and the entertainment world?  The music they listen to or the movies they watch?  Can you feel and sense the disdain for holiness in our modern world, as a whole? 

Mothers have an awesome responsibility.  The true weight of the power of persuasion we hold over our husbands and children can never be measured.  I have heard it said that the mother sets the tone for the home.  “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” couldn’t be more true.  You and I hold the power in our hands to make all the difference…whether good or bad.

Are we teaching our children to love this world more than to treasure their eternal soul?  Are we so intent on their outward appearance that we are overlooking their spiritual welfare?  Do we push them to excel in material gain, yet never warn them that there is a God and a Judgment Day coming where we will have to meet Him and give full accountability of our lives lived on earth?  What is our example teaching our children?  The example we are setting today is permanently etching the legacy we will one day leave behind.

I am extremely blessed that I have a Christian, Godly husband who feels as strongly about our child’s spiritual welfare as I do.  The dear woman in the article above didn’t have such a treasure.  Yet, she plodded on, by God’s strength and grace, and she kept the torch of truth lit in front of her children who later picked it up and carried it forward after her death.  What we are doing today in regards to our children will have eternal, never-ending repercussions. 

Today’s passage of Scripture instructs us to teach the truths of God’s Word diligently to our children.  To talk of them when we are sitting in the house, when we are walking by the way, when we lie down, and when we rise up.  It kind of makes me think of it this way….we should be living this out before their eyes at all times.  We should insert it every chance we get. 

Mealtimes are some of my favorite times in our home.  I love to cook.  I love to have our little family gathered around the table enjoying food I have prepared.  And I also know that each and every meal provides a valuable opportunity for us to communicate with each other and to drive home truths by our conversation and our actions.  I also love family worship times.  We love reading a good, Godly book together, and then each one of us prays.  It is SO worth the time it takes to do this.  I hope one day Zachary will cherish these memories as much as I cherish making them with him and his Daddy. 

Our legacy….it is now in the making.  What do you want yours to look like?  If you could fast-forward to your own funeral, if you could have some kind of supernatural insight into watching your family’s faces as they gather around your body that one last time, what would you like the picture to look like?  How do you want to be remembered? 

If you don’t like the picture you are envisioning, it isn’t too late to change.  Sure, we can’t undo the past or go back and remake already-made choices, but we can, by God’s grace, become the person we want to be remembered as….starting today, beginning now, my friend.  Because of the Godly legacy you leave behind, may each one of your children join the Psalmist David in saying, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”  Psalm 16:6 (KJV)

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