Pass It On
When I was a kid, I did a lot of dumb things. But there was one particular dumb thing I did that I guess my dad just figured, "He needs to remember that." I got so angry one day that I put my foot through my bedroom door and left a hole the size of, well, my foot.
You know, after your temper cools down, you look at that sort of thing and you're embarrassed. You want to, in fact, get a new door. I said, "Dad, you ought to replace the door. It's going to be my money, of course, but you ought to put in a new door." He said, "No. That old door is fine," and he just put a little piece of white cardboard over the hole. He left it there for at least a year, and it was a constant reminder of my failure.
Now, I don't think God takes our past and does quite that, but there are truths that we constantly need to be reminded of, and that's where the book of Deuteronomy comes in. In Deuteronomy, God told the children of Israel to remember what He had done for them, so Moses went over those things—over and over and over again.
This is good to do as a Christian. We call it a testimony—the story of how God saved you. And you ought to have your testimony fresh and even somewhat rehearsed in your heart, so that at a moment's notice you can pull it out and use it.
Deuteronomy 6:20-21 says, "When your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which the Lord our God has commanded you?' then you shall say to your son: 'We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.'"
Inevitably, the new generation is going to question their parents' devotion to God. "Dad, what's up with these weird commandments we keep? Why do we have this special meal? Why do we have these strange festivals?" If you're a parent, one day your kids are going to question your relationship with God. And God says you should have a good answer for them. So, go over your history. Talk about how God delivered you. Pass it on.
One effective way to do this is to keep a journal and write down the things God has done in your life. When you pass from the scene, it will be invaluable to your children to read that: "Here's my parents' legacy. This is how they prayed. This is what they prayed for. This is how they trusted in the Lord."
"You shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness" (Deuteronomy 8:2). Remember literally means to mark or to chart. Think of God's track record in your own history. Think back and mark well the trials God led you through—the wilderness, the tough times. Recall God's work often in your life.
And share your faith. If you don't tell them, who will? You know the truth; pass it on; disciple other Christians. God has given you everything you need so far in your life. You might say, "Yeah, but it's been tough." But you made it. God has brought you this far, and He'll take you the rest of the way.