What is Your Legacy?
As I was reading through Matthew a few weeks ago, there was a chapter that I typically skip that I decided to read. I know what you’re thinking, why is our Director of Christian Education skipping chapters of the Bible…. Hopefully you weren’t thinking “He reads the Bible?” Anyway, this is a trend that I know we all fall into when it comes to certain parts of the Bible. In Genesis 5, as soon as you read the phrase, “the book of generations of…” I check out mentally and look for where it ends. This shouldn’t surprise you, because you probably do it too. Who are all of these people, and why do they matter? In Matthew, the book starts with the phrase. It says, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” I like where this is going, it is a line of promises made and of promises kept. It is the legacy of faith that was passed down from one generation to the next.
We all have this line of faith in our lives. Let me tell you the story of Evalene McCarty. She was the daughter of Cornelia Joffer and the mother of Alalia McCarty. Cornelia emigrated to America from Holland with her husband at the turn of the century in the early 1900s. She raised Evalene and the rest of her children in the church and passed down her faith in Christ as they were raised in South Dakota. Cornelia’s children grew up and left home to start families of their own and raised their children while passing on their faith in Christ to them. Evalene married Wesley, had children and raised them in the faith, teaching them about Jesus and the love that God has for us. Their youngest daughter Alalia had 5 kids and they were taught about the faith we have in Christ. Now, to Evalene, faith in Christ was not something that we just talked about, it was about something that we did. She made sure that her kids and grandchildren knew about God’s love. She created habits and routines around reading scripture. When I would visit her, we would always have to recite a verse from Scripture from memory before we could leave the table, but only Wesley could use John 11:35.
I’m telling you all of this because Evalene had a great impact on my life. I never called her by that name, instead I called her Grandma. She passed down her faith to me, she taught me about the promises of God. She encouraged me to read His Word, to pursue a right relationship with God, and taught me grace whenever I failed. When I was very little, she saw how much I enjoyed telling Bible stories, and suggested a path for me to serve God by entering in some kind of ministry. I didn’t think about it much at the time, but it still stuck in my mind. She would reinforce the idea as I got older, and we would consistently talk about what I was learning in my reading. She would teach me her wisdom, and we would grow together. My parents also had a lot of influence, but the conversations and encouragement from her stand out in my mind. It is a legacy of faith that is being passed down from generation to generation. From Cornelia to Alalia to Joshua to Charlotte and Madison Margaret Evalene and hopefully to their children also.
When we read through genealogies, try not to skip them, but read and look at the names. These are people who have passed on their faith from one generation to the next. From Abraham to Isaac to Jacob, to Judah and his brothers…. from Boaz to Obed to Jesse to David to Solomon. These are examples of faithfulness to God’s word and kept their hope in the promises that He made. We too can pass this faith and hope in Him who keeps His promises. We can look at our families and share with them God’s love and forgiveness. We can model faithfulness to the next generations. We can leave a legacy that loves God and hears His forgiveness. What kind of legacy are you leaving?
Director of NexGen Ministries