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Leaving a Heritage by Liesl Mare

Adoniram Judson said: “There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice, it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success, it is because someone will succeed after.”

We all come from somewhere and all of us have memories – be they positive or negative. We are all walking on a road that was somehow shaped by those before us. As we walk forward, we always need to remind ourselves of what we are leaving behind for those following us. If we continually look back, we cannot look forward enough to leave our own legacy.

‘The greatness of your life is not so much in what you leave behind, but in what you send forward.’ Ray Noah

In recent years and even decades, there has been an increasing emphasis on leaving behind an earth that can be sustained. There has been a massive, costly drive to make sure that we become aware of our environment and put boundaries in place to keep it clean, safe etc. It has been overwhelming, at times, to be bombarded with the costs needed to sustain what we have – the heritage of a beautiful earth for the next generation.

For some, heritage means delving into past cultures, food, dress etc. That, of course, is also not good or bad in itself; its value varies from person to person and culture to culture. Some people are even ashamed of their heritage and the emphasis can bring great sorrow and discomfort.

In all of this, I find a missing link and the most important aspect of it all – a spiritual heritage. You see, the Word is clear that the earth, as we know it, will one day be transformed and become new. That does not diminish our responsibility to care for it, but I want to bring it into context of what we place our focus on when we think of the word ‘heritage.’ Our cultures were blended into one Jesus-culture when we accepted Him as our Saviour and Lord. His death on the cross becomes the benchmark of the new culture in Him. Once again dress, language, food etc. all become unimportant things – not unimportant because they are not valuable, but unimportant because God will provide for them. We need not fret about them. He knows what we need and He will provide.

I love the fact that Jesus’ first miracle was changing water into wine. It is not because I love wine or even drink wine, but because it seems like such a trivial miracle. I mean, how important is one wedding? However, it was culturally unacceptable to run out of wine – the family would have suffered great shame if the guests realised that the wine had run out. It was a cultural thing, a cultural no-no. And still Jesus decided that it was valuable enough to help out and ‘save the day’ for the bride and bridegroom. I love that He comes into our culture and places His stamp on it. He is not limited by our culture, but He showed us through that miracle that He is in and above our culture. He is the Source of all.

Galatians 6:7-8 (NKJV)

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

When we live life trying to become all that we need to be, what the world demands, we can lose track that we were always created to be a people that understands sowing and reaping. What we sow, we reap. We are, therefore, quite narrow-minded if we lose track that the seeds we sow in our generation, in our children, in our earth, will somewhere come up and bear more seed. So the principle of sowing and reaping goes hand in hand with heritage: what do we want to leave behind? All of us are leaving something behind, positive or negative, but every single thing we do and say is sowing into the heritage we are going to leave, and that will shape the future.

We need to decide what heritage we are leaving – a heritage limited to the flesh and its desires or a heritage of everlasting life in the Spirit.

Leaving a heritage sometimes comes at a price, and even though we may not have been the people who paid that price, if we live in the wake of the positive heritage someone left before us, we need to focus on leaving a heritage for the next generation. It doesn’t matter if our own heritage was one of life or death – what matters is what we do with our cross-moment. The cross-moment is where we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. He is no longer an added extra to our lives; He is the Centre of it all. From then on, our lives become a road towards His godliness, to become like Him. And He is the biggest legacy-depositor that ever lived on the earth. He died for everything and everyone. In Him is life.

We have a chance of a life in abundance because Jesus suffered greatly.

Have you ever considered that Jesus did not see the fruit of His life and death on the earth? When He died on that cross, He basically died alone and the heritage He was leaving was not yet visible. He died in complete faith that what His Father said would happen, would happen, that the sacrifice of Himself on the cross would be sufficient for all of mankind, that His blood was enough to pay for ALL who came to Him. Jesus died believing that what God promised, He would do. He paid the ultimate price to leave a Heritage.

John 10:10b (NKJV)

I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

As I raise my children, I regularly ask myself what the greatest legacy is that I can leave for them and what they would be most proud of. Then I also ask - what am I sowing for them to reap? What in my life, conduct and disciplines will be life-giving seed for their futures?

What heritage am I leaving? If I believe God, like Jesus did, I know that what I sow I will reap.

Let us not lose sight of what we are doing in this life – whatever we sow, we will reap and so will the generations after us. Let us be a people that will keep that in front of us always – a people God can trust to leave a Godly heritage.

Love, Liesl

Liesl Mare is a regular contributor at Women of Reverence.

Read full bio here

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