A Father's Legacy

Frankly, most of us didn't know much about the space shuttle Columbia's amazing crew until the ship and the crew were lost in that awful re-entry tragedy. But then we began to learn what truly outstanding men and women these people were.

Starting with their commander, Rick Husband. Hearing from his family and friends, it quickly became clear that he was a magnetic follower of Jesus Christ. He quoted from memory verses from Joshua 1 to prepare his crew the night before the launch. He prayed with his crew just before they met the press and boarded the shuttle. He molded his diverse crew into a bonded team.

What touched me most was what Rick Husband did for his kids before he left. He made 17 videos for his daughter and 17 videos for his young son, each one a "devotional with Daddy" for each day he was scheduled to be gone - it was Daddy with the Word of God and Daddy praying with them. Can you imagine what a treasure that will be to them?

The kind of gift a space shuttle commander left for his children is the kind of legacy God intends for every father to leave - a contagious love for Jesus, the teaching of God's words and God's ways, and a consistent life of Christ-like love and purity.

And just in case someone asks, "How do you know that's what a father's supposed to be doing?" we can just look at Ephesians 6:4. It says, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

There are some men who might say, "That's women's work." A lot of men try to delegate to their wife the spiritual leadership for which God holds them accountable. Throughout the Bible - beginning with Adam - God makes it clear where the buck stops when it comes to spiritual leadership in a family. It stops with the man.

But that's not supposed to be a bad thing. It means that a man can leave a legacy for his children that can literally change their lives and last forever. And that's an exciting prospect! Rick Husband modelled this God-given assignment of being his children's spiritual coach when he left God's Word for his children along with hearing him talk with God on their behalf.

Some of us haven't really stepped up to building this spiritual legacy as we should. One reason might be fear of failure. You know, we men tend to only do things where we're pretty sure we won't look stupid. We ask out a girl only when we're pretty sure she won't shoot us down.

We show up for a sport where we can look reasonably coordinated. We avoid sports we're not very good at. And because trying to lead our family in praying and exploring God's Word is unsure ground, we tend to shy away from it. Or we hide behind the fact that we think our wife is better at it. But God doesn't buy any of that. There's only one way you can be a failure in being a spiritual leader for your family - and that's by not stepping up! Just do it - however clumsy and unsure you may be at first.

When your children remember you, will they remember a praying man? Will they remember a Godly man? A man who loved and lived by the words of God? It's the greatest legacy you can give them. In the words of the psalmist, "We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord," and will follow God's mandate that men should "teach their children, so the next generation would know ... even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God..." (Psalm 78:4, 6-7)

We never know when our own mission on earth will end. Which means we can't waste another day in working on our spiritual legacy. The greatest gifts you will leave your children will not be in your will - they will be in your life - as you pass on to them your living faith in your living God!

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