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  • Writer's pictureKeith Haney

Passing Down A Legacy

One question I love to ask guests on my podcast is: “What do you want your legacy to be?” The illustration below shows what happens when your answer goes astray.

A young man was to be sentenced to the penitentiary. The judge had known him from childhood, for he was well acquainted with his father—a famous legal scholar and the author of an exhaustive study entitled, “The Law of Trusts.” “Do you remember your father?” asked the magistrate. “I remember him well, your honor,” came the reply. Then, trying to probe the offender’s conscience, the judge said, “As you are about to be sentenced and as you think of your wonderful dad, what do you remember most clearly about him?” There was a pause. Then the judge received an answer he had not expected. “I remember when I went to him for advice. He looked up at me from the book he was writing and said, ‘Run along, boy; I’m busy!’ When I went to him for companionship, he turned me away, saying, “Run along, son; this book must be finished!’ Your honor, you remember him as a prominent lawyer. I remember him as a lost friend.” The magistrate muttered to himself, “Alas! Finished the book, but lost the boy!”

Homemade, February 1989.

As we look at the illustration above, viewed it through the lens of Moses’ words in Deuteronomy 6,

6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9. (ESV)

It hammers home the crucial role the father occupies in the lives of their children. One church study that concentrated on Sunday School offered these shocking statistics of the impact of fathers:

  • When both parents attend Bible study besides the Sunday service, 72% of their children attend Sunday school when grown.

  • When only the father attends Sunday school, 55% of the children attend when grown.

  • When only the mother attends Sunday school, 15% of the children attend when grown.

  • When neither parent attends Sunday school, only 6% of the children attend when grown.

The role of Christian fathers is to apply God’s practical wisdom to their everyday life and guide their children in the same way. Deuteronomy 6:5-6 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” Fathers who are connected to the vine Jesus Christ can guide their children in the greatest relationship they will ever have — with their heavenly Father.

The greatest example of what a father should be like is God Himself. According to the Bible, there is only one perfect Father. The New Testament offers us an extraordinary glimpse of the glorious relationship between God the Father and Christ the Son. On three separate occasions, the Bible records these words of the Father to His Son: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 17:5). This is the relationship fathers should endeavor for with their children. There is no higher authority than God, the greatest Father of all. The most influential evangelism tool in your churches is your fathers.

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