Do you guys ever wonder if your children will pass along God’s promises to the next generation? I wouldn’t have given this question a second thought about 10 years ago. You see, I grew up in home where God seemed abstract and silent. It’s not that my parents didn’t believe in God, but they seemed to have forgotten somehow. In hindsight, I’m eternally thankful for the men who later filled that void in my life. Nonetheless, the fact remains that my faith, as it stands today, did not come from my parents. And, although my parents returned to their faith several decades later, it almost seemed like Christianity nearly skipped a generation in my family. What happens if the fig tree dies?
Right now, our local church is going through a series called “Fearless Parenting,” which has been both enlightening and sobering. Our pastor emphasized that, no matter what we do as parents, our children will ultimately have the final say on faith matters. According to a recent poll, as of 2019, America had experienced a 12% decline in Christian adults over the past decade, and only half (49%) of Millennials even described themselves as Christians (www.pewforum.org). Therefore, we certainly cannot assume past faithfulness will continue or that future generations will even be aware of God’s promises. And, let’s not forget the history of Israel:
“After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10 NIV)
The phenomenon of declining faith is certainly not new, and clearly God had everything well under control during Joshua’s day. Therefore, as an honest disclaimer, any man-made remedies that I might suggest to you regarding this problem are just that – man-made. The survival of the Christian faith does not depend on my human logic or efforts.
Nonetheless, I am considering an intentional “seeding operation” which I would like to share with you today. Essentially, I’m exploring the idea of writing a letter to my descendants. I’m referring to my childrens’ childrens’ children. I try to imagine the impact on my childhood if I had received a personal letter from my great, great grandfather, Fletcher W. Albright (1854 – 1941). I imagine I would have felt pretty darn special; like he was passing on some sort of ancient wisdom from beyond the grave.
Fletcher was a Texas Ranger who stood at 6’4” and rarely carried his weapon. I once saw an old newspaper article commending Fletcher’s bravery. He had single-handedly rounded up a large group of alleged gangsters and marched them down “Main Street” to the county lock-up. My point here is that, I knew a good deal about Fletcher’s legacy as a law man, but I knew absolutely nothing about his faith.
What if Fletcher had told me about God’s promises - my salvation through Jesus Christ, my mission and purpose on this earth, my true identity in Jesus Christ? I think it could have been a game changer in many ways, especially when mom and dad split. Man, I really needed a rock.
How about you? How would you have felt if you had received a letter from an ancestor? We all yearn to be connected to our ancestors in some way. As a future ancestor myself, why shouldn’t I fulfill that connection for my descendants? If I had to estimate, I’d say my great, great grandchildren will probably live sometime in the early 22nd century. I can’t fathom it, especially the advances in technology. Will Christianity even be legal?
I haven’t quite figured out my delivery method yet. I suppose I could attach a copy of it to my will and ask my children to pass it along, but that brings us back to the original problem. I could also secrete the letter inside a painted canvass, the family crest, or an old photo album. Wouldn’t that be a cool discovery? Then again, maybe there’s a technological solution I’m not thinking of. In the meantime, I’ll focus my energy on writing the letter and leave the rest to God. You can get a sneak peek of my rough draft below, and, if you desire, embark on your own intentional seeding operation. We can call it Operation FERTILE SOIL, right out of Luke Chapter 8!
Dear Great, Great Grandchildren,
My name is Eddie Crow. I wrote this letter in the year 2020 when I was only 45 years old. Perhaps you’ve never heard of me, but that’s okay. I’m your great, great granddaddy.
I have some vitally important things to tell you, so please pay careful attention. First and foremost, I love you all very much, and I would like to meet you face to face one day. I realize that I’m not there with you now, but, trust me, I’m around… (to be continued).