"Look at this 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 thrilled me as we witnessed the greatness of God's creation.
While visiting Oregon awhile back, we took a quick trip to northern California to enjoy the sights of the National Redwood Forest. God's handiwork 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. Specifically, the Sequoia Redwoods are known for their giant size.
The next sight displayed a Redwood 21 ft. in circumference and 368' feet high. At one destination we paid our toll and drove our van through one tunneled out Sequoia.
Part of our venture included scoping out the Trees of Mystery. This is a section of the forest that contain some very interesting trees. As we walked 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 walking path snaked around this horizontal giant. We came to its end and noticed the root structure was completely exposed.
Interestingly, these roots were still healthy and revealed signs of life. More unusual is that several other trees had sprouted out of this fallen one. We later learned that when a Redwood is knocked over it will attempt to continue growing via its limbs.
The health of this tree produced more trees even though technically it had passed on.
There is spiritual application in this for all of us. As parents and grandparents, it is vital to consider the health of our spiritual roots and what we pass on to our children and grandchildren after we die. The depth, width and nourishment of our roots effects future generations. Being spiritually healthy enough to sprout new growth helps establish a spiritual legacy of vitality for those after us.
These observations took me to Judges 2:6-11. Prior to this account, God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt under Moses' leadership. Moses died and Joshua became their new leader. This passage tells of Joshua leading the people of Israel. They waited forty 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." My first reaction is questioning: How could these people who witnessed many miracles of God not pass on their faith to the next generation?
The evidence is clear: they neglected to pass the Lord's instructions to those after them. The next generation did not know the Lord or follow His ways.
My second reaction is a sobering reality: If the Israelites neglected to pass on their faith to the next generation, it is possible for us to do the same. Ouch. It's easy to point the finger and shame the Israelites, especially after all the omnipotent acts of God they witnessed. But, our generation is no different. We too have experienced miracles in our hearts of life transformation from the Living God. Our responsibility to share our faith is the same as theirs and our excuses are inexcusable.
Everyone leaves a legacy, we have to choose what kind it will be: one of faith or futility. Laying the foundation for a godly heritage doesn't just happen.
- We cannot pass on to others what we don't posses ourselves.
- Wanting and wishing for a godly legacy is different than living one.
- Intentional discipleship fosters spiritual growth.
- Instructing from a biblical worldview is necessary to shape the paradigm of a child's heart.
This passage reveals the necessity of our lives being permeated by the things of God.
- Commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands,
- Repeat them again and again,
- Talk about them at home, on the road, at bedtime, and in the morning,
- Tie them,
- Wear them,
- Write them,
Our lives must encompass the Lord and we need to know the truth we are to share. Intentionally investing in each day and capitalizing on teachable moments can shed godly wisdom on situations that arise in our lives and our children's lives.
Don't misunderstand, this is not a prescription for ensuring our children will not question or walk away from truth. They must choose whom they will serve. But, Scripture is clear on the God ordained role parents have over their children. If we don't teach them, tv, movies, music, internet, friends and school will. Too often we can neglect the most important things in a child's life while pursuing other things. What's more significant:
- Popularity or purity?
- Salary or salvation?
- Success in life or eternal life?
- Athletic ability or spiritual maturity?
- Clothes or character?
Write down how you live out the instructions of Deuteronomy 6:5-9? 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? Be specific.
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/grandparent in passing on my faith to my children/grandchildren? How should this responsibility change the way I live?
Heart Transforming 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."
Matthew 13:21 "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. Edited 2012. All rights reserved.