Tamara and I recently welcomed our first granddaughter into the world, and if you’ve ever been a grandparent, you know how it brings back so many memories of parenting. It truly reminds you both how exhilarating and exhausting it can be.
The truth is that there is a lot of spiritual, emotional and material investment that goes into maturing kids. Thank God, He left us instructions for such a vital job. He gave it to us through the story of Abraham.
Abraham’s life teaches us how to leave a legacy in our kids that will last for generations to come. He shows us that parents should experience God personally themselves and engage in the training He leads them to.
God shows us that Abraham did this in Genesis 18:19. It says, “For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
It’s important to train our kids not just to learn God’s ways, but to love them as well. Passing on God’s blessing in this way requires three things. First, it requires directing our children in the ways of the Lord. Providing direction doesn’t work well when a parent or leader simply tells their child what to do. However, it works very well when the parent/leader shows why we do something and how we do it.
Passing on blessing also requires keeping our children in the way of the Lord. This doesn’t work well if a child feel something is not right or unfair. But when they see it’s right, fair and profitable, they will naturally honor God’s path.
Finally, passing on blessing requires encouraging our children in the certainty of God’s promise. No matter how old our kids are, the parenting job isn’t complete until our children are living confident in God’s ways and His will for them, and they are also living passionately committed to those ways.
Perhaps one of the studies that most clearly proves the effects of parenting on a child’s life can be found in the comparison of two men: Jonathan Edwards, a Puritan preacher, and Max Jukes, a prisoner. Generations after both men were gone, an American educator decided to compare Edwards’ family line with Juke’s family line. Throughout those 150 years, do you know what he found?
Jonathan Edwards’ line had 13 college presidents, 65 college professors, 75 military officers, 80 public servants, 60 authors, 60 doctors, 30 judges, 100 pastors, 100 lawyers, 3 U.S. senators and 1 vice president. Max Jukes’ line had 310 paupers, 50 criminals, 7 murderers, 100-plus alcoholics and 190 prostitutes.
Friends, I think we can all agree that legacy is not something to take lightly. It’s wonderful to know that God can start where are, and take our families to where our hearts long to be.