These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
You may find this hard to accept, but it is nevertheless true: your greatest impact on this world will occur not while you are alive but after you die.
Christian author Tim LaHaye illustrated this by tracing the family trees of two men who lived in the eighteenth century. One was Jonathan Edwards, the great Puritan preacher. The other was Max Jukes, a godless man and contemporary of Jonathan Edwards. Of Max Jukes’ 1,026 descendants, 300 died prematurely, 100 were sent to prison, 190 were prostitutes, and 100 were known drunks. Compare that to the family tree of Jonathan Edwards: of his 729 descendants, 300 were preachers, 65 were college professors, 13 were authors, 3 were congressmen, and 1 was vice president of the United States. For better or for worse, your faith (or lack thereof) will be multiplied and amplified through the generations that follow you.
What kind of legacy are you building for your children, your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren? If you are a Christian parent, the most important responsibility you have is not the social, academic, or athletic development of your children; it is their spiritual development, teaching them to know, love, and serve Jesus Christ with all their heart.
In Deuteronomy 6, Moses was speaking to the Israelites as they prepared to enter the promised land. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. . . . You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (vv. 5-7, 9).
How do you teach your children and grandchildren to love and obey God? Certainly by what you say–words are important. But you have to do more than tell the truth; you have to live out that truth in your own life. It is not either/or. You have to love God with all your heart, mind, and strength before you can impress that upon your children and grandchildren. As parents, we are to teach our faith, but we are also to live out our faith. That is how we build a legacy for the generations to come.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Legacy Of Faith” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Tim LaHaye, as credited in John P. Allison and Judy V. Allison, “Parenting as Discipleship,” Ashland Theological Journal 29 (1997), 53-54.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org