Thursday, June 12, 2008

Leaving a LEGACY

I don’t mind if you’ve got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who’s who and so-n-so’s that used to be the best
At such’n’such … it wouldn’t matter much
I won’t lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights

We all need an ‘Atta boy’ or ‘Atta girl’
But in the end I’d like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I don’t have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthy list of all that I enjoy
It’s an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy
Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred

Just want to hear instead, “Well Done” good and faithful one…

What a POWERFUL song with a powerful message. Af a Father, I want to leave a legacy that my children and my wife will be proud of. We are all leaving a legacy, we determine what kind it is.

With Father's Day this weekend, let me briefly, give you four ways for a father to leave a legacy:

#1 Love your wife!

The first way to leave a good legacy is found in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (NIV, Ephesians 5:25) The translation in The Message says this.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church--a love marked by giving, not getting.

The idea of marriage as an absolute commitment is an endangered species. Actor Brad Pitt has confessed he knew his marriage to Jennifer Aniston would never last. He said in a recent interview that he never expected to be wed forever. He described his high-profile breakup as "beautiful." Pitt seemed frustrated about the public perception… "It's talked about like it failed. I guess because it wasn't flawless."

Now comes Pitt's wisdom about marriage: "Me, I embrace the messiness of life. I find it so beautiful, actually. The idea that marriage has to be for all time - that I don't understand." Our culture has devalued marriage to the point where people enter relationships on a trial basis with no expectation that it can last. I will guarantee you one thing…that mindset will make it far more likely that it will not last. Why should followers of Jesus believe that marriage is for all time? A report by Warren Mueller revealed that where both parents attend church regularly, 72% of their children continue in the faith. Where only the father attends, that percentage drops to 55 percent, but where only the mother attends, just 15 percent of the children remain involved in the church.

Theodore M. Hesburgh wrote that the “most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother”.

#2 Encourage your children

The second part of leaving a legacy that endures is to be an encouragement to your kids. Paul wrote this simple instruction to the church at Colossae. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

The Message translates this verse like this….Parents, don't come down too hard on your children or you'll crush their spirits.

The dad factor may be more critical than we ever realized. Christian author/speaker Josh McDowell commissioned a definitive study of the last 17 school shootings. On the surface, the results were the same as dozens of other similar studies; there seems to be no "profile" of a teenage killer. They come from poor, middle class and rich homes. Some are nerds and geeks; some are the most popular kids in school. They come from a variety of races and religions. Some make good grades; some don't. Some have been bullied, others are the bullies.

McDowell went below the surface and discovered a common thread that other studies missed or ignored. He found that in every case, the families of the murderers were superficially normal but were, in fact, dysfuntional when it came to the relationship of the children with their parents. In particular, the fathers were either absent or minimally involved in parenting.

After making this discovery, McDowell commissioned another study that involved 2,000 children ages 12 to 17, and 1,000 parents. The study revealed that children raised in a SINGLE PARENT home were 30% MORE LIKELY than the national average to be involved in drugs, alcohol, and violence. I can almost hear some of you saying, "That's no surprise. I've always felt that divorce was the major cause of youth violence. I'm glad WE have two parents raising our children."

Read on.

Adolescents raised in TWO PARENT families in which the father had a poor to fair relationship with his children were 68% MORE LIKELY than the national average to have problems with drugs, alcohol, and violence! That floored me. Two parents in the home are no defense against the problems we're discussing unless the father is close to his children. If he is not, his children are at more than twice the risk of children raised in single parent homes.

The final statistic shows us the answer to school violence as well as a host of other problems affecting our youth. Teenagers raised in two parent families in which the father had a good to excellent relationship with his children were 96% LESS LIKELY than the national average to become involved with drugs, alcohol, and violence.

These statistics show us that many of the things that we have assumed would protect our children will not necessarily do so. You can raise your children in a two parent family in a "good" neighborhood, send them to a "good" school, and even take them to church. But if there is a lack of emotional attachment, if there is no loving bond between the children and their parents, particularly the father, children of every background are at some risk.

I am not talking about being a perfect father. These kids (and even many of us) are simply looking for the affirmation and blessing of our earthly fathers.

When Scripture says that God is our Father, it is telling us that these needs can be met by Him. This is where our role as Christian dads becomes so important. There are no perfect earthly dads. But it is critical that we understand the impact that we have on our child’s relationship with God. Some may find it hard to get excited about the scriptural descriptions of God as a father because of the imperfect models of fatherhood they have experienced here on earth.

Some remember a father who was too wrapped up in his job, his buddies, and his hobbies to provide much support or affirmation. He might have been one of those men who believed that their only job was to bring home a paycheck, while Mom was responsible for everything else. Others might recall a dad that was demanding, cold, and unapproachable. Children can tend to transpose their father experience when they think of God as Father.

I have talked to many men my age who are still desperate for the approval of their fathers. And I know that is true for women as well. Jim Valvano, the now deceased coach, said "My father gave me the greatest gift that anyone could give another person, he believed in me."

We will complete this study in tomorrow's blog! Blessings!

(I plan to have a special post Saturday on the Legacy of our Father's. I plan to use COMMENTS left on this blog. So, for those of you that will, please take a moment to post a comment about the legacy that your dad left or is leaving you. Thanks in advance for your assistance)

Pastor Rusty


Anonymous said...

My father died when I was 12. I don't remember much other than he was sick alot and was handsome. But because of his service to our country after his death I recieved benefits to pay for my college education. It was a great help for my future.
Sherry Morgan