Whether I am driving in the car, washing dishes, sweeping the floor, preparing a meal, reading a good book, visiting a neighbour, running errands or paying bills are all opooruntities. They are activities that I can do with my children and it is through these tasks, of which some are delights and others are simply necessary, that I have the opportunity to model character but more so, I have the privilege of sharing the good news of God with my children.
One of my favourite verses in God’s word is in Deuteronomy 6. I particularly like Chapter 6, mainly because of the surrounding verses. The writer of these verses is Moses.
Moses went to Egypt and led the Israelites out of Egypt. They wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years. So close yet so far away from the Promised Land. During all this time the people of Israel had fallen away form the Lord and the teachings of Moses. Moses went to Mt. Sinai and received the Commandments from God. I continually remind myself why the Law was given. It was given to reveal divine holiness. It showed who God is… His standards of righteousness! When I look at the commandments I can see how far short I have fallen…and how I can never adhere to them in and of myself.
I was intrigued to realise that it took the Israelites about 40 hours to get out of Egypt but it took 40 years for the Israelites to find the promised land- or as I’ve heard is said somewhere before, “It took 40 years to get Egypt out of Israel.” However, the other interesting point is that Moses didn’t get to enter the promised land. Only two of the Israelites who were taken out of Egypt got to enter it and they were Joshua and Caleb . All the others had died and there was a new generation.
Just before his death, before the entrance to the promised land, Moses gave a final word of admonition and exhortation or additional instruction. (Interestingly, Jesus also quotes this verse). Moses was their leader. He helped them to live godly lives amongst heathen nations. As the Word was taught to us, so we must teach it to our children.
How Many Generations?
How many generations can you see in these verses? Three! That means me, my children and my grandchildren! God knows that our teachings, lives and beliefs can influence future generations. I wasn’t raised a Christian. My mother converted when I was in my early teens so we say that she was our first generation Christian. It began with her. She lived out her life in front of me…and I picked up on that passion. A danger for me is that I may become complacent in the living out of my faith and thus my children will pick up on that. Or that I may acknowledge God’s commands but not live in the fear or love of the Lord. Oh Lord, create in me a clean heart…keep my heart drawn to you.
What Are We To Pass On?
So, what are we to pass down to the generations- to our children. It must be more than head knowledge… although that’s a good starting place. But our beliefs, our values must be lived out in our lives. The Word must change us. Along with a knowledge of God we must also have a fear of the Lord – a love. Otherwise, all we have is religion.
We are passing a legacy long to our children: Choose today what you will pass on. Social, emotional, spiritual and practical… choose today to model your beliefs and be intentional with passing on your legacy.
The Gospel According to You
There’s a sweet old story translated for men,
But writ in the long, long ago
The Gospel according to Mark, Luke, and John
Of Christ and His mission below.
You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day,
By deeds that you do, by words that you say.
Men read what you write, whether faithless or true.
Say, what is the gospel according to you?
Men read and admire the gospel of Christ,
With its love so unfailing and true;
But what do they say, and what do they think
Of the gospel according to you?
‘Tis a wonderful story, that gospel of love,
As it shines in the Christ-life divine,
And oh, that its truth might be told again
In the story of your life and mine!
Unselfish mirrors in every scene,
Love blossoms on every sod,
And back from its vision the heart comes to tell
The wonderful goodness of God.
You are writing each day a letter to men;
Take care that the writing is true.
‘Tis the only gospel some men will read,
That gospel according to you.
*I have found that this poem has been attributed to two different authors – Paul Gilbert and Wallace E. Norwood. I’ll attribute both because I can’t be sure.
Originally written in December, 2005.