"Look at that one, it's huge", my youngest son exclaimed. "Whoah, check these out. They are ginormous", my other two sons piped in. Hearing the wonder and amazement from my sons' perspective was thrilling as they were witnessing the greatness of God's creation. A couple weeks ago our family visited Oregon. While there, we took a quick trip to northern California to enjoy the sights of the National Redwood Forest. God's creation never ceases to amaze me. His display in this forest is another example of His majesty and grandeur. The Redwoods are magnificent! The trees in this forest are unlike regular evergreens. Redwoods make other trees look like toothpicks. The Sequoia Redwoods are known for their giant size.
We paid our toll and drove our van through one tunneled out Sequoia. Another destination displayed a Redwood 21 ft. in circumference and 368' feet high. Part of our venture included scoping out the Trees of Mystery; a section of the Redwoods containing some very interesting trees. As we were walking along the trail we witnessed a very unique fallen Redwood. The details showed it was 3,000 yrs. old and had been fallen for 300 years. The trail snaked around this fallen giant. We came to its end and the root structure was completely exposed. Interestingly, these roots were still healthy and still showed signs of life. More interesting is that several other trees had sprouted out of this fallen one. The health of this tree produced more trees even though it had technically passed on. We learned that if a Redwood is knocked over it will attempt to continue growing via its limbs.
My husband and I instantly started chatting about the spiritual application we both saw in this tree and how applicable it is to the Christian life . It made us consider the health of our spiritual roots. What are we passing on to our children after we die? Are we healthy enough to sprout new growth even after we're gone? Are our roots deep enough? Wide enough? Nourished enough? How will our lives leave a legacy of health and vitality spiritually to those after us?
These observations took me to Judges 2:6-11. God had delivered the Israelites out of Egypt under Moses' leadership. Moses died and Joshua became their new leader. This account tells of Joshua leading the people of Israel. These people had waited 40 years in the desert to cross over into the Promise Land. In this section Joshua dispersed the land allotted to each of the twelve tribes of Israel and then he died. Verse 10 is key: "After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel. The Israelites did evil in the Lord's sight and served images of Baal." How could these people who witnessed many miracles of God not pass on their faith to the next generation? They neglected to pass on the Lord's instructions to those after them? The next generation did not know the Lord or follow His ways. Hhhmmm. How did this happen?
Sobering reality. If the Israelites neglected to pass on their faith, is it possible for us to do the same? Ouch. Have you considered what legacy you are leaving your children? Is it one of faith? Futility? Are your spiritual roots healthy? Are your roots deep and wide enough? Are you healthy enough to produce more 'trees' even after you pass on? Are you passing on your faith to your children? Are you raising up a godly heritage to follow after you? How do we pass on our faith? Does it just happen?
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 is our road map for passing on our faith. "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. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
This passage reveals how we are to leave a Godly legacy to the next generation. Our lives should be permeated by the things of God. "Commit yourselves wholeheartedly, talk about them, repeat them, tie them, write them." Every part of our lives needs to encompass the Lord. Sounds like we must be intentional to know His truth and pass it on to our children. Are we teaching our children biblical truths? Are we praying with them? Do we look for teachable moments each day to shed godly wisdom on situations that arise in our lives and our children's lives?
Passing on our faith to the next generation requires us being intentional. Passing on our faith doesn't just happen. Like the Israelites, we cannot neglect to leave the next generation without His Truth. We are developing roots in ourselves in order to develop roots in those after us. They in turn develop roots in those after them. Even when our time comes to pass on, may the roots we have established be healthy enough to sprout new and healthy growth in those after us. May we all strive to have the roots of a Redwood.
How am I establishing healthy roots in my spiritual life? Are my roots deep? Shallow? How can I be more intentional to pass on a Godly legacy to my children?
Am I unable to pass on a godly legacy because I am struggling in my own faith? How does the thought of the next generation growing up without acknowledging the Lord affect me? Do I understand my responsibility as a parent in passing on my faith to my children? How should this responsibility change the way I live?
Heart Changing Word:
Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV) "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."
Matt13:21 (NIV) "But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away."
Colossians 2:7 (NLT) "Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught."
Revelation 22:16 (NIV) "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.
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