I believe there is a God-created desire deep within us to reproduce "after our kind"-to continue our family line, to pass on our family name, our heritage, and our likeness to offspring who will do the same.
 

As a woman, I know what it is to wrestle with the fact that, on the one hand, God designed me (physically) to be a bearer and nurturer of children, while, due to His calling in my life at this time, I am unable to fulfill that crucial role and purpose.

Yet, I am reminded that God's essential purpose for my life (and all of our lives) is still to be a "reproducer"-to be a bearer and nurturer of life, whether physical or spiritual. All of us-not just those with physical offspring-share in the responsibility of giving birth to and preserving a heritage of godliness to hand to the next generation. The man or woman who cares only for his own generation and fails to make an in-vestment in the next, is selfish, foolish, and shortsighted.

How can we leave a legacy for the next generation if we have no children of our own? We can do so by praying faithfully and fervently for the children and young people growing up in our extended families, our churches, and our communities. 

I carry a burden on my heart for the spiritual well being of the many children who are a part of my life.  For example, as I pray by name for each of my nieces and nephews, I pray that each child will come to know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus with all of his or her heart-that not one will be lost.  I pray that one day they will establish godly marriages and that each of them will be faithful to the marriage covenant-that there will not be one broken marriage among them.  Then I pray the same for each of their children-and their children-down to the fourth generation.  Those prayers are one way I can leave a legacy that will outlive me.

We can also invest in the next generation by making sure that our lives model purity, humility, and wholehearted devotion to Jesus Christ.  And we can take time to serve, love, encourage, and disciple those who are younger than ourselves.

I think of my dear friend, Ney Bailey, a single woman more than twenty years my senior. For nearly four decades, Ney has traveled all over the world, investing her life in college students and Christian workers. She is a capable speaker and in great demand. But I believe that Ney's greatest impact has not been the result of her public speaking ministry.  Rather, it has been the fruit of her one-on-one involvement in the lives of younger men and women.

I first met Ney when I was in my early 20s. Over the years, God has used Ney's life to challenge and encourage my walk with Him. At a few crucial junctures in my spiritual pilgrimage, she has been available to listen, direct me to the Word, pray with me, and help me discern what God is saying.  When I am with Ney, I become more thirsty for God. When I grow weary in the battle, I am encouraged by her example of faithfulness. 

Ney does not have any physical children. But she has been a spiritual mother to countless men and women in my generation and the next. Her life is leaving footprints that are leading others to Jesus, and will continue to do so long after she is in His presence. One of my goals in life is to be a "Ney Bailey" to younger believers who are following in my steps.
 

Each of our lives has been molded and shaped by individuals who have already run the race of the Christian life; they have handed off the baton to us. Now we have the responsibility of safeguarding it and handing it to the next generation.
 

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
Let us run the race, not only for the prize;
But, as those who've gone before us,
Let us leave for those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives.

Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.

--Jon Mohr

 

Find Us Faithful words and music by Jon Mohr. Copyright © 1987 Jonathan Mark Music ASCAP and Birdwing Music ASCAP.  All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Excerpted from Singled Out for Him by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Copyright © 1998 by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Used by permission of Life Action Ministries.

Since 1980 Nancy Leigh DeMoss has served as the Director of Publications and Women's Ministries and as the editor of Spirit of Revival magazine, for Life Action Ministries, a revival ministry, based in Niles, Michigan. She is the author of A Place of Quiet Rest: Finding Intimacy with God Through a Daily Devotional Life, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free and A 30-Day Walk With God in the Psalms (Moody Press). Nancy also hosts Revive Our Hearts, a daily radio program for women that airs each weekday on over 200 stations nationwide. Visit Revive Our Hearts.