By Rev. John Campbell, United Presbyterian, Oakdale
Heritage, legacy, that which we pass on to the future. This was my theme in last week’s column. As most writers know after you have finished writing there are other thoughts that did not quite fit in the article or space limited what you could say. So I am addressing some additional thoughts.
Previously I said that it is okay to be proud of our Christian heritage, yet this demands a contribution from us: that we hand it over to the next generation. It is to be passed on to the children in order that they have a sense of purpose, direction, and mission for the future. Understand I am including both biological and spiritual children.
God gave Moses guidance on the way to preserve and pass on the way to walk in God’s presence. This is found in Deuteronomy 6, which reads: ‘Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.’
What does it start with? It starts with loving God ‘with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ They were told to never forget how they got to the Promised Land and how God was responsible for this blessing. How he did miracles to get them there. They were told to teach their children about God’s Word and laws so they too could be blessed and their kids blessed.
Our legacy involves recognizing and honoring God and His word, and then passing it on to others. We can leave behind a witness, a set of principles and a certain lifestyle. We can leave behind a life well lived, a godly life. Yet we do not do this by ourselves. God by his Spirit is there to guide us to help us. God has given us the scriptures, yet they have to be read, meditated upon, and obeyed to be useful.
It’s not enough simply to know what Scripture says. We have to commit ourselves to them. We need to pledge our allegiance to them. In other words we have to live them. Then God moves us from a mere knowledge of him, to an unwavering commitment to him and his glory, through his Son, Jesus Christ.
Your legacy begins in your heart, in your relationship with God. In Psalms we read: ‘How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed.’ In particular from Psalm 78, the younger folk need to learn about ‘the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.’
St. Paul addressed a church that was worried about future events with these words: ‘So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.’ These are words for the Church today.