What We Leave Behind

Men don’t mind getting their hands dirty. Even if we don’t know what we’re doing, we’ll put our hands under the hood, under the faucet, and under the dirt. It’s how we learn. I’ve rarely learned more from a lecture than I have from actually getting my hands on a project. It doesn’t matter if his interest is mechanical, artistic, historical or otherwise, a man has evidence of his work on his hands.

I’m fascinated by things we find in the earth. A highlight of my trip to Israel was an opportunity to be a small part of an archaeological dig in The Shephelah. Even with my Closter phobic tendencies, I crawled on my belly through underground passages and dug up fragments from an ancient civilization. I found that the room I was exploring must have been an ancient kitchen. We found bone fragments of Shlomo’s supper and pieces of cookware. From these bits, you can learn about what how an ancient culture lived, ate, traded with others, and much more. It’s amazing what we as humans leave behind.

A deep sadness wells up inside when I think about today’s society. Have you ever thought about what we are leaving behind for future archaeologists? When they dig up cell phones, what will they be able to learn about how we communicate? If someone uncovers an iPad, what will they learn of our literature? What structures will even remain for them to study how we slept and ate? We are a “throwaway” culture. We are so focused on the present that we care little of the future.

Have you ever wondered what difference there is in the Church today? We spend hours creating and figuring out the newest technology but spend minutes reflecting on the information we are communicating. We put so much time and manpower into creating and running programs to train and entertain with little life-on-life talks and experiences that leave a lasting impression.

Have you ever wondered what difference there is in the family today? We spend hours creating and figuring out the newest toys and devices but spend minutes reflecting on the information that is going into our children’s minds. We put so much time and energy into running from game to game or finding activities to keep our kids busy with little family talks and experiences that leave a lasting impression.

I believe it’s high time we begin evaluating our culture in terms of what future generations will find. We need to move beyond our present-day “must-have’s” and prayerfully consider the next generation’s needs. The overriding theme of today’s society is busyness, but the overriding theme of Scripture is faithfulness. Our God has been faithful to us, and those yet unborn desperately need us to be faithful to pass on The Story of God. While we all need to be involved in this effort, I feel compelled to talk to the men specifically.

Men, it’s time to get our hands dirty at home. I’m not just referring to the fix-it projects we all like to do. I’m talking about dishes and diapers. I’m talking about asking ourselves every day how we’ve done sharing Christ with our children. I’m talking about asking our wives every day how we are doing loving them as Christ loves the Church.

Men, it’s time to get our hands dirty in the Church. I’m not just referring to passing an offering basket or setting up chairs. I’m talking about dishes and diapers. I’m talking about asking ourselves every week how we’ve done modeling Christ for the teenagers and children. I’m talking about asking our leaders every month how we can take up the call to love God and love others better.

A sense of hope wells up inside every time I see another man step up to the plate for his family and church. Can you imagine what it would be like if our men were leading the way in asking us all what we were leaving behind for future generations? Can you imagine a generation of men and women who were committed to being intentional about passing on their faith to their children? Can you imagine a Church whose primary desire was to see God’s name be praised on earth long after their time here was done?

I can imagine this, but I can’t see it apart from getting our hands messy. We can’t create technology to do it for us. We can’t assume someone else will do it. We need to heed the call of Christ to begin investing our lives now in such a way that brings glory to our great God for generations to come. We need to start asking, “What are we leaving behind for future generations?” May God be praised both now and forevermore because we chose today to get our hands dirty.

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