something that is handed down from the past
Ahhhh…the land. This family land we fondly call “The Farm.” Merely stepping out of the car produces a sense of comfort, a sense of warmth, a sense of history. Our sons grew up hiking, fishing, and camping here, listening to the coyotes and night noises, snuggled in sleeping bags. Now thirteen grandchildren have embraced this land and all it represents. “When can we go to the farm?” is a common question heard by their parents.
Though the past five years have brought many joys, they have also been difficult for our family. Since February 2011, Stan and I have said goodbye to all four of our parents. My mother was the last one to pass away on March 31 of this year. Her extensive suffering from Alzheimer’s disease made her passing even more heartbreaking.
The recent years have involved accounting and management of possessions, sales of homes, vehicles, furniture, and land. They have also involved many, many hours of sorting through lots and lots of “stuff.” Any closet we open in our home still has tubs and boxes yet to be unearthed and organized. Two storage units remain full to the brim.
The Old Testament offers many examples of parents leaving land and possessions to their family, ensuring they had a continued means of support and survival. While we have been managing this material inheritance from our parents, we have been considering another kind that also offers safety, support, and skills for survival.
This inheritance is not on any list of assets… It is not taxable…It is not subject to division among family members… All of those left behind equally receive all of it.
As we have reflected on what we received from our parents, these gifts are most evident…
- Their love for God and His Word
- Their commitment to Christian covenant marriage (124 years combined)
- Their desire to serve others
- Their enjoyment of work
- Their genuine compassion and love for people
- Their commitment to maintaining godly character
To treasure this heritage means to not only recognize what we have received, but delight in it, give it value, and give thanks for it. Our joyful task now is to carefully guard this precious heritage and pass it on to our children and grandchildren.
Tell it to your children,
and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation.
For further reading, see Paul’s letter to his spiritual son Timothy in II Timothy 1:13-14, 2:2
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