The space shuttle Columbia - most of us didn't know much about the amazing crew on the ship's last mission until they were lost in that awful re-entry tragedy.
Now, we understand what truly outstanding men and women these people were - beginning 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 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.
And then there was the really touching thing he 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 has been for them?
He left them 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 Christlike love and purity.
The answer to, "How do you know that's what a father's supposed to be doing?", is found in 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 men who might say, "That's women's work." There are men who 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.
And 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. That's an exciting prospect! Rick Husband modeled this God-given assignment of being your children's spiritual coach when he left God's Word for his children along with hearing him talk with God on their behalf.
One reason some men haven't stepped up to building spiritual legacy could be fear of failure. 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. 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, a godly man, one 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. Therefore, we can't waste another day 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 onto them your living faith in your living God!
Malachi 4:5-6 & Deuteronomy 6:4-25
One thing I need to do more of to leave a spiritual legacy with my family is...