Leaving a Legacy

     Take a moment to stop and think about a mentor who has had a positive impact on your life.  It could be a parent, grandparent, coach or teacher.  That person poured into you, helping you become all that God intended.  They helped you flourish and thrive.  This role as mentor is vital and each of us is called to look around and see who we can invest in for the future.  Leadership expert John Maxwell once said, “There is no success without a successor.”  In the Bible, we see Moses pouring into Joshua.  Moses led the Jews out of Egypt, but Joshua finished the job by leading them into the Promised Land.  Elijah, the great Hebrew prophet, invested in Elisha, his successor who ended up doing twice as many miracles as his mentor.  I want to encourage you to be a mentor to the next generation.  Specifically, be a show and tell mentor. 
     First, SHOW.  One of the most powerful tools of a mentor is their example.  Whether it is our child, foster child, foreign exchange student or another mentee we can be certain that they are watching us carefully.  What we value, they tend to value.  What we focus on tends to be important to them too.  The Apostle Paul, when writing to his young apprentice Timothy, commented on the fact that Timothy’s grandmother and mother passed their faith on to him (2 Timothy 1:5).  Our words certainly matter but our actions are the most compelling evidence about what we value.  As a father of five and grandfather too three I think more is caught than taught.  I have always liked a line from a poem “I’d Rather See a Sermon” by Edgar Guest.  He wrote, “The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear.  Fine counsel is confusing.  But example’s always clear.”  You never know when a single moment of example could make a difference.  Nobel Prize Winner, Bishop Desmond Tutu shared that when he was a little boy living in South Africa under the evil, racist system known as apartheid, it was expected when a white person approached a black person on a sidewalk the black person was to step aside into the gutter as a sign of respect.  One day he was walking with his mother and a tall, white man in a black outfit saw them and stepped aside and tipped his hat in respect to his mother.  When Tutu asked his mother why the man did that she responded, “He is an Anglican Priest, a man of God, that’s why.”  He said at that moment he decided he wanted to be an Anglican priest.  Plant seeds with your example, you never know what might grow!
      Second, TELL.  In the book of Deuteronomy parents and grandparents are told to teach their children the commands of God.  Read the actual Bible and kid’s Bible stories to your children.  Read stories from William Bennett’s The Book of Virtues.   My wife would have a secular show Good Morning America on some mornings as the kids got ready for school; when topics came up that Scripture addressed, she would lean in and do quick teaching times.  When a child faces a problem, ask “what does God say about this?” and help them find some guidance.  In our culture so many children are being discipled and shaped by screens to their detriment.  Instead take your kids to a Bible teaching church and even more importantly train them in your family context at home. 
     Be a SHOW AND TELL mentor to those you can.  Leave a legacy of children who are flourishing and thriving as God intended.

Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church