As a parent, one of my greatest responsibilities is to “prepare my children for adulthood,” and I would like to believe all parents highly regard this responsibility as part of their legacy. We all received some type of legacy from our parents, whether that legacy is one that will last through several generations is another question. The Bible itself teaches us that “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children” (Proverbs 13: 22).
Blinded by the materialistic aspect of our culture, most legacies tend to revolve around money/finances. For example, whenever we hear the word inheritance we are most likely thinking about money, business, real estate, or some type of financial asset. Please, I am not so cynical to think that parents shouldn’t leave a financial legacy for their children in order to help them have better lives. However, the best legacy one can leave his family is a legacy of faith – one that is rooted in love and built with grace. In 2 Timothy 1, we can clearly see how Paul is praising Lois and Eunice for leaving a lasting legacy of faith for Timothy. Lois, Eunice’s mother, played a major role in her spiritual upbringing and so did Eunice in Timothy’s spiritual walk with God. This week-end as we celebrate Mother’s Day, I want us to take the time to appreciate the spiritual role that mothers and grandmothers have played in the lives of so many in the Church. The time spent teaching their kids how to pray, reading scripture to them and making sure they understand the importance of Church family/assembly.
In the Old Testament, God made it clear to the nation of Israel that it was their responsibility to leave a legacy of faith to the next generation. Before entering the Promised Land, Moses told the Israelites “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up” (Deuteronomy 6: 4 – 7). This is a very well-known piece of Scripture in the Torah (The Jewish Bible/Canon) – one that many Jews still recite today in their Shema (Jewish Prayer). They understand the importance of passing on a lasting legacy of faith to the next generation. As a matter of fact, in the book of Judges 2: 10 the bible says “After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.” There is a great danger when this legacy of faith is not passed on to the next generation, because they will end up forsaking God altogether and live according to their own evil desires (Judges 2: 11). This responsibility is not only the job of mothers and grandmothers, but it is the entire family’s responsibility.
This being said, I am also well aware that parents are not the only one to bear that responsibility, although “Faith starts at home.” However, children must learn how to build upon that legacy and carry it on to the next generation themselves. There are many young adolescents who may choose not to carry on that legacy, but it does not mean we shouldn’t do it. God wants us to leave the next generation a legacy of faith, and I am grateful that many parents have taken this responsibility seriously.
Happy Mother’s Day