Christians are to be legacy-minded. They are to be long-term strategists who do not view themselves, their family, churches, or occupations as something within a void and without context. The context is Christ’s victory and dominion. The family’s primary role, within the context of society, is to glorify God and to create progeny. This progeny is to make long-term impact for good. To fail in this command by God (Deut. 6) is to invite generational pain and suffering (Deut 28:15-68). The Scripture warns current generations to avoid sinning against their offspring by refusing to bring them up in the fear and admonition of The Lord. This means that when previous generations refuse to honor God, they leave their own children in a dangerous position. What our parents do during our formative years will in part shape cultures for good or evil. In fact, the culture will in large degree be a litmus test for how well the previous generation raised their children.
No right-minded Christian would deny that this is God’s modus operandi as it pertains to how we should raise our children. Many of us are living in the blessings that a loved one left us in the form of monetary funds, help with our business, trust funds, an old family home, or possessions. That’s only counting the material blessing passed down, not the spiritual or emotional blessing of being raised in a Christ-centered home or even just a nuclear family. The opposite is also true: we can be greatly impacted by the failures of our parents. Instead of hugs, some receive blows. Instead of encouragement, discouragement. Instead of hot food, an empty stomach. Instead of godly legacy, generational infamy. Instead of the fear of God, folly. Instead of gain, loss.
The seeds we plant in our children will grow into fruit. They will grow beyond that and impact everything beyond our children as well. Feeding hungry children keeps the grocer open and employs people. Righteousness leads to sustainability and further blessings beyond merely surviving. Prosperity is our goal as it pertains to economic philosophy. We are hardwired to bring God’s dominion to the earth. That could be in the form of your backyard garden, or of homeschooling your children. Everything we do will reflect the dominion mandate that is hardwired into our souls since Creation. The material, spiritual and emotional yearning for those blessings are also hardwired into us. Don’t believe me? Just ask the three siblings who had to cooperate in order to sell the family home after their mother passed away. We want blessings.
What is true of families is true of nations as well. All nations are either starting from square one (third world countries) or they are building upon what previous generations have left to their care. Our current world didn’t drop out of Heaven like an end times Jerusalem. Providence instead has delivered us into these cultures. Things were done prior to us being here that either benefits us or hinders us. Our job is to find those hindrances and systems of evil and eradicate them while simultaneously building new, better ways of living and cooperating. This includes not merely living for ourselves during this dominion process, but actively building avenues (charities, hospitals, schools) that benefit our less fortunate neighbors. Christians aren’t called merely to stop the things that unjustly oppress themselves, but to attack any and all forms of injustice upon anyone on earth (James 1:27; Deut 14:29; Psalm 34:14; 82:3).
If we take Scripture into account, there are only two forms of inheritance. Generational righteousness (Prov. 3:1-4; 2 Tim. 3:14-15; 2 Tim. 1:5). To these we must cling. The other alternative is generational sins (Exodus 34:6-7; Deut. 5:8-10). In multiple other areas, specifically in the Psalms, we see the call to remind our children constantly of that from which God has delivered us. The children are in turn commanded to take hold of that deposit, or dire consequences will follow. In fact, the families that refuse to obey the Lord risk their own sins being visited upon and practiced by their own children. Yet even those children can repent and turn to the Lord before it is too late (Leviticus 26:40-42; Exodus 34:6-7).
To conclude, we must not merely teach our children the milk of the word, but we must press on into the meat of biblical precepts (Heb. 5:12; 1 Cor. 3:2-3). We must help them build a comprehensive and biblical worldview by which they discern the world around them. If not, we leave them to be devoured by wolves in both the world and the church alike. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 3, Paul warns about building upon the biblical foundation with anything that cannot stand being tried by fire.
The Corinthian church was dominated by worldly philosophy that had no foundation in Christ. When we Christians educate our children, we must not leave them to build upon the bare ground. They also inherit our foundation, which is Christ. Therefore our children, when well-discipled by their parents, should at the earliest teenage years be much more mature than we were at their age. In fact, they should not be surprised if they start teaching us things and challenging us. After all, their foundation will be our foundation. We are raising them to surpass us and in turn to teach our grandchildren to surpass them—always building on Christ.
Are you leaving your children such a legacy? Are you teaching your children about biblical economics, work ethic, government, education, authority, compassion, justice, tyranny, money, modesty, obedience and health? The only alternative is to leave every generation that follows in constant, cyclical infancy. You can either leave a castle that has been built up for two centuries or you can present them with an empty lot without even a slab of concrete.