A couple of weeks ago, Judy and I were with our three adult children, their spouses and children in Kansas City for three days. It was the first time our children’s families have been together for at least three years. Of course, for Judy and I it was a wonderful experience. For many families this can be a regular event. But when there is great distances between families combined with busy schedules, for other parents getting together as a family are rare and special events. It was a great time of building relationships and getting caught up on the lives of each family. I found myself often just stepping back emotionally to observe what was really going on and my part in the whole event.
What I came away with was the importance of leaving some markers for our lives. That is, as Judy and I, inch up to that 70 year old mark, it seems important to keep our children informed about our health and the plans we are trying to make for our old age. As a pastor I have witnessed the absence of that in many aging parents. They do not give their adult children any markers to help the children navigate the senior years with their parents. We had what I called ” a family council” at which Judy and I shared some of our plans. We wanted to get the imput of our children regarding some matter that will become more urgent later on.
As I think about those three days, I find myself thinking a lot about the legacy or inhertiance that I will leave behind for my children and their familes. I am not referring only to a monetary inheritance, but more important to my mind, the spiritual inheritance of my walk with God. I find that I need to be open and honest walking in humility, putting my trust in the Lord. My life now become more of being then doing or even helping. If there are issues unresolved I have the responsibility to bring them into the open. If there are family secrets or “black holes” that our children wonder about, then Judy and I should be as forthcoming as we possibly can be.
In this regard, Psalm 37 has always been a Psalm that has spoken to me about inheritance and leaving a legacy. Especially I refer to verses 25-26. “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be blessed.” I can not emphasize enough the need to be in right relationship with your children and their families as you grow older. Be open about your hopes, and aspirations as you go into these “golden years.” Above all, reflect upon and ask God to give you the grace to leave a godly legacy with your children’s families. It is on the heart of God that fathers be a blessing to their children, rather than a hinderance. Remember the words of Malachi, which are the last words of the Old Testament. “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”