When I think back on my Australian childhood (which seems like millions of years ago these days!), I fondly recall my mother's mother. We affectionately called her “Nana.” In my mind's eye, I can still see Nana standing on the veranda of her and grandfather's big farmhouse, waving her Bible at a couple of “fleeing” Jehovah Witnesses who had dropped by to visit. They were virtually running away from her after she had passionately “preached” at them!
I can also recollect one particular scene of my other grandmother. It's of her sitting at my father's side, with all of her grandchildren also beside her. (My grandfather died when my father was a teenager, so I never knew him.)
I also remember my mother and father teaching me the Word of God at home, and ensuring we went to church each Sunday. My parents were active in the church, whether as Sunday school teachers or my father as an elder or deacon. I recall my parents starting Sunday schools, hosting missionaries and organizing gospel outreach programs-it was at one such program where I dedicated my life to the Lord.
I praise the Lord that my siblings and I were taught to recognize our sinfulness and were given the opportunity to commit our lives to the Lord. (Our dear brother Robert is in heaven right now praising the Lord.) We, as imperfect as we are, did our best to train our children in the ways of the Lord, and we are so thankful to God that all of them are Christians and desire to serve the Lord in all they do.
The legacy my father left me-one that my wife and I have worked hard to pass on to our children-will be passed on to our grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on. (By the way, Mally and I look forward this month to the birth of our fourth grandchild.) What happens, though, when such a legacy (standing on the truth of God's Word) is not passed on to the next generation?
When the Australian Aborigines were discovered by Captain Cook in 1770 as he sailed up the eastern coast of Australia, they were a spiritist culture. They lived in fear of evil spirits and curses from witch doctors. They didn't know the God of the Bible. The Aborigines were considered “primitives.” Sadly, Darwinian evolution some 100 years later fueled such a view of these people. Of course, they were not “primitives” as some evolutionists claimed. In fact, they had lost something valuable that they once had.
A legacy lost
On the basis of biblical history, the Aborigines had the same ancestor that you and I have. Their great, great, great, etc. … grandfather, many generations ago, was yours and mine: Noah. Noah, the great shipbuilder, worshipped and obeyed the true God. What happened, then, to the Australian Aborigines? Somewhere in their past, one of the generations lost the legacy of godly Noah. They failed to communicate it. And it only takes one generation to completely obliterate such a legacy.
Judges 2:10-11 we read: “
When all that generation had been gathered to their
fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the
work which He had done for Israel. Then the children of Israel did evil in the
sight of the LORD, and served the Baals [idols] … .” In just
one generation, the legacy of the previous generation was lost!
My brother Steve and I have such a burden to help parents do the best they can to produce godly offspring-so much so that we wrote a book about this timely topic and its place in today's culture wars. The Genesis of a Legacy book and curriculum share what we have gleaned from the Scriptures in a unique, intensely personal, humorous, serious, practical, and, we trust, God-honoring way.
Dads and moms, what legacy are you leaving your children? Are you doing what you should be to ensure that the next generation is not “primitive” spiritually? The best type of legacy any parent could leave their children is a love of the Lord and His Word.