It’s hard to understand when we are young, that every decision we make will shape not only who we are but our future. We live for the moment and the enjoyment that it can bring, not thinking about consequences.
This thought reminds me of a conversation that I had with a friend of mine a few days ago regarding the story of Abraham and Hagar (Genesis 16). We were discussing how Abraham, though not a young man, made the decision to go against what God had promised him and have a child with Hagar instead of waiting for the promised son with Sarah. The child from Hagar was Ishmael, a man that would come to be known as the patriarch of Islam and the promised son with Sarah, Isaac, would become a patriarch of Judaism. From the beginning, there was animosity between Isaac and Ishmael and still today we can see the ripple effect of this single decision made by Abraham, as the conflict between these two groups of people continues.
When Abraham made his decision, he wasn’t thinking about God’s promises or what the consequences of his actions might be. He was only thinking about his frustration that God hadn’t yet provided the promised son and how easy it would be to take matters into his own hands. Sounds a lot like us dads at times. We get impatient at times even though we know God’s promises and we push ahead with our own thoughts and plans. Rarely do we stop and remember that God can see from the beginning to the end. He knows what tomorrow holds and while we may not be able to see into the future He does require us to live our lives and to make decisions with the future in mind.
Proverbs 13:22 teaches us that, “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children…” Leaving an inheritance takes forethought, intentionality, and a multi-generation vision. It’s not just something that happens, a good man puts much thought and planning into the legacy that he will leave his family.
This inheritance that the Bible speaks about doesn’t necessarily mean monetary, it’s also godly character qualities such as wisdom, integrity, honor, and trustworthiness.
I recently asked the men in our An Every Day Dad Facebook group if they could teach their children only three things, what would it be? I received some great feedback that included the following:
- The gospel
- True masculinity/femininity
These are just a few examples of the godly legacy that we as dads should be leaving with our children. When our children look back on us as dads, I doubt they will remember how much income we made, how in shape we were, how far we rose in our careers or how many “things” we had accumulated. They need more important from us, they need something that anchors them to a relationship with Christ, something that they can pass down to their children.
If one wrong decision made by Abraham can still affect our world thousands of years later, how much more could your decisions to leave a legacy of pointing your children to Christ change the world for the better.
I challenge you, if you haven’t already, to sit down and really ponder the legacy you wish to leave with your children. Don’t think just about today or 10-years from now — think about your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This isn’t something that should be taken lightly, so take your time and give it your undivided attention because you never know what affect your decisions might have.
It may seem daunting at first but with much prayer and guidance from scripture, we can leave a godly legacy for our children’s children.