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You are in a relay race. You are the second person in the team. The race begins and when your turn comes up, you pick up the baton and run.
You have a good start, you run the bend, you are confident, possess speed endurance and a very high degree of competitive spirit. However, when the time is up to pass the baton, you fumble and drop it. The next person in the team is ready to receive the baton but is confused. He somehow picks up the baton. He runs again, but can never make up the lost time due to the time missed in recovering the baton in the first place. Long story short-your team loses the race. Isn't this so true about life?
Text for study: 2 Kings 2:1-18
v.9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you"
What a question! We all know that one day, we will leave this place. One day, our Christian faith, our Christian tradition and all that we have worked so hard for will be left for the others to carry forward. Then, what can we do for the generation coming after us before we go?
It really contains a bigger question. For Elijah was it more important for him to be remembered for what he did or for what he did to continue? The question for us, how important is it for us to leave the legacy of our faith for the next generation of Christians? It is important enough to ask, "Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you".
But our legacy isn't about keeping the past alive, it isn't about buildings and monuments and words; it is about passing the gift of our faith to the succeeding generations. It is about our faith in Christ and the world and life changing possibilities.
What legacy do we pass on?
Each one of us has a baton, a spiritual inheritance, which is worth passing on. It could be a story of a neighbour's kindness, or memories of friends who touched our lives. Simply make a list of lessons learned, scriptures seen fulfilled, and stories that illustrate what you've learned, examples that live, our own stories of courage, of struggles endured, of discoveries, of failures and triumphs. Have you ever been in a situation and you had no clue how it is going to get better, but now you look back on it..THAT WAS GOD...He passed us through a long night to see a brighter day.
It is these testimonies that motivate, inspire, uplift and give us strength. They deserve to live on and on in our hearts to be shared again and again.
How do we pass on our legacy?
These stories must become palpable and real. Let our children and the generation next see us living out our lives and acting out the drama of inspiration. We live in troubled and turbulent times. We create the world with our words and deeds and the way we live our convictions. We can make our world alive with messages that heal and inspire. Do our children see us buoyant and upbeat or do they see us buckling and wiliting under pressure?
Unfortunately many of us have parts of our legacy that are weak or even awful. You may be asking, "How do I give something I didn't receive? Or, how do I talk about the not so positive areas in my past?"
Hope is not lost. Consider the story of Josiah from the Old Testament in the Bible. His father and grandfather were involved in many wicked things, including idol worship that threatened the entire nation. But after 8-year-old Josiah became king of Judah, he reversed that trend. He sought God and purged Judah of idols, repaired the temple and saved a nation.
Like Josiah, you can choose which things in your legacy are no good and throw them away. It's important to break the cycle of hurt by leaving negative things behind and creating a new legacy. Chart a new course as you begin a positive legacy for yourself and those you love.
Who do we pass on our legacy to?
Proverbs 13:22 reminds us, A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children.
Much like a physical legacy, this spiritual gift should be passed on to our children, our children's children and to the succeeding generations. All that we have inherited from our parents, grand parents, our spiritual mentors and others who left a blazing trail for us, is 'treasure' to be passed on as our testimony of faith. God commands parents to intentionally teach their children Godly values and bring them up to become Christian adults. As we build into our children's lives, a new culture that is based on Biblical values will take shape..to carry forward the Gospel.
You shall teach them(words which the Lord commands) 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. Deuteronomy 6:7
Fathers,do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
At the core of everyone's story is how we have shown, felt, received, and given love in our lives. It is about the compassion, the kindness, the courage, and the beauty that has come into our lives and that has flowed from us but yet remained within us, despite, and because of, all the difficulties and challenges we have endured. It is the story of our lives.