From Generation to Generation

Grinnell Falls over Grinnell Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana
Grinnell Falls over Grinnell Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana

This past week, I’ve gone through dozens of boxes of family heirlooms, memorabilia, toys, “rare” garage sale finds, clothing, mid-century Christmas china collections, and nothing short of junk.  Everything had to be sorted out – the heirlooms from the junk, the clothing that would fit one us from the styles of yesteryear, the useful from the stuff no one would ever use (guess why it was a rare deal at a garage sale?)

Baby bottle at the Last Chance Mine, Creede, Colorado
Baby bottle at the Last Chance Mine, Creede, Colorado

Through it all, I was impressed with the verse, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children” (Proverbs 13:22).  Within those boxes, tubs, and baskets, while there was plenty of useless stuff, there were also precious things.  Brand new gifts that had never been given (one or two in wrapping paper), heirlooms that testified to the love and care of the maker, carefully packed items that had been the pride and joy of the owners.  Some of it was valuable for its price; others had little value except to members of the family.

China at the Genesee Country Village, New York
China at the Genesee Country Village, New York

This was not a Christian family per se.  The parents of the house owner had loved Jesus, and in later years the house owner and her husband had both turned to Christ.  The inheritance she left was, for the most part, not based on their faith.  Yet in life they had been generous with their grandchildren and others, and in doing so they had left an inheritance to their children’s children.  In some cases, they left an inheritance for their children’s children’s children.

Evening at the Arch Rock Picnic Area, Samuel H. Boardman State Park, Oregon
Evening at the Arch Rock Picnic Area, Samuel H. Boardman State Park, Oregon

I wrapped up the ungiven gifts for various family members and collected the heirlooms for future sorting by the children of the house owner.  I also gave thanks to the God Who knew that faith in Him might jump a generation to come down with blessing on the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  Some of the inheritance was from further back than the house owner to her parents and her parent’s parents.

Meadows below Electric Pass, White River National Forest, Colorado
Meadows below Electric Pass, White River National Forest, Colorado

Moses wrote, “[God] is a faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands” (Deuteronomy 7:9).  Our blessing and our covenant with God isn’t just for us.  It extends to our children, our children’s children, their children, etc.  I’ve seen it happen that even when one generation rejects God, the blessing continues to draw to God the next generation.

Multiple generations on the Sahale Arm Trail, North Cascades National Park, Washington
Multiple generations on the Sahale Arm Trail, North Cascades National Park, Washington

Our relationship with God is that strong – it moves the heart of God so strongly that He extends it to our offspring.  Look at the promises He made with Abraham, with the Levites, and with David.  From Abraham – God’s friend (James 2:23) – came the entire blessed Israelite nation.  The Levites were allowed to come near the sanctuary because they rallied to Moses during the incident with the Golden Calf (see Exodus 32:27-29) and because they did not turn away from God when the rest of Israel did (Ezekiel 44:15).  God promised David that his family line and rule would never end (2 Samuel 7:16) which was fulfilled in Jesus – just because David was a man after God’s own heart.

Almost at the top of Star Dune, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Almost at the top of Star Dune, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

God’s blessing extends from generation.  We will go to heaven someday to be with Jesus – but our inheritance of blessing is left for our children and our children’s children.