Leave and Receive a Legacy Across the Generations
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2004 9 Jan
When you were a child, did your father ever hold you on his shoulders? Have you ever lifted your own child up to your shoulders? The view from a parent's shoulders is clearer and the perspective bigger than it would be for a child simply standing alone.
God, our heavenly Father, wants people of every age to work together to lift each other up spiritually so that a legacy of blessing can flow across the generations.
Here are some ways you can leave a spiritual legacy for younger people and receive the legacy that older people want to leave for you:
Understand that those you carry on your shoulders are meant to bless you, not burden you. Ask God to give you His vision for your destiny, and the destinies of the younger people you want to mentor. Know that God has ordained you to carry along a vital chain of faith. Let those visions of the future motivate you to invest time and energy today into discipling others.
Pray regularly. Intercede for the young people you know regularly, asking God to meet their specific needs and develop specific character traits in them.
Model integrity in all areas of your life. Constantly ask yourself how Jesus would want you to act in any situation - at home, in the workplace, and elsewhere - and decide to act in those ways. Let a strong moral character give you credibility as you represent Christ to younger people.
Teach younger people to read and study God's Word. Point younger people to the Bible when they ask you for advice, and explain to them how you prayerfully discern God's will in your own life, using Scripture as your guide.
Introduce younger people to the Holy Spirit. Tell people about the Holy Spirit and pray for them to be able to discern God speaking to them through His Spirit.
Do the right things, even if you don't do them right. Know that God is most concerned about whether or not you're willing to try whenever He calls you to mentor someone. Know that God will give you all the grace you'll need to do the right thing, even if the situation doesn't work out the way you'd first expected.
Draw upon God's strength rather than your own. Realize your limitations and commit your protégé and your dreams for that person completely to God, trusting that He will work out His purposes in the person's life no matter what happens. Especially when it comes to your own child, recognize that he or she is not merely your offspring, but, first and foremost, God's child.
Let go of your personal agenda for those you mentor, and have the courage to follow God's call rather than human desires for your own life. Realize that God has uniquely shaped each person to fulfill His purposes in unique ways. Don't let family traditions, personal opinions or other pressures interfere with yourself or your protégés serving God in the unique ways He wants you all to do so. Ask God to replace pride with humility in your life. Seek to reproduce God's likeness through your children and other protégés, rather than seeking just to reproduce something of yourself.
Hold regular meetings with your mentors or protégés. Discuss each other's dreams, desires and destinies together and notice how God is intertwining them. Ask Him to continue to reveal more about how you can help each other keep growing.
Pass along passion, not just empty ritual. Ask God to renew your heart to give you a deep passion for Him. Follow Him out of love rather than merely a sense of duty. Explain why you're faithful to God, and let others see firsthand how much you love Him. Remember that growing up in a Christian home doesn't make you a Christian; everyone must repent of their sin, receive forgiveness from Christ and receive Him as their Lord and Savior.
Preserve memories of older generations. Record the testimonies of older people - such as through the written word, or audio or video - and save them to remind you and others in your generation of how they grew in their faith.
Let younger people join you as you serve. Allowing younger, more inexperienced people to serve alongside you will give them the confidence they need to start serving more themselves.
Know that we all succeed or fail in life together. Keep your team member mindset your whole life, always asking God how He wants you to relate to your other team members so that you all can win the race of life together.
Adapted from On Daddy's Shoulders, copyright © 2003 by Tommy Tenney and Amie Dockery. Published by Regal Books from Gospel Light, Ventura, Ca., www.regalbooks.com.
Tommy Tenney is the author of the multimillion-selling The God Chasers series. He is also the author of other books on unity, including God's Dream Team, Answering God's Prayer and God's Secret to Greatness. Tommy has spent more than 20 years in itinerant ministry, traveling to more than 40 nations. His two passions are leading others to seek the presence of God and encouraging unity in the Body of Christ. He is the founder of GodChasers.network, a missions ministry organized to assist pastors globally and to distribute Tommy's teachings through various media.
Amie Dockery is the director of women's ministry at Covenant Church in north Dallas, a church started by her parents, Mike and Kathy Hayes. Gaining the understanding that only comes in the midst of personal trials has given Amie a desire to love God with her whole life.