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Leaving a spiritual legacy

From Chapter 10 of From Survive to Thrive by Sam Rodriguez (“System Upgrade —Develop the Next Generation”)

Samuel Rodriguez
Courtesy of Samuel Rodriguez

Recent dramatic changes in our world have forced us to take a long, hard look at who we are, what we believe, how we treat each other, what we want for this world, and what we want for our children and our children’s children. We’ve been reminded that an important part of thriving is preparing and developing the next generations who will come behind us. 

In the corporate world, succession plans are essential for making transitions from leader to leader and team member to team member as smooth, seamless, and stable as possible. Large organizations, institutions, and even ministries and churches know that people come and go. They don’t want to rely on specific individuals or personalities to sustain growth and productivity. I know of some businesses in which every employee cultivates others within the company to replace them. The owners take the view that no one is indispensable, not even founders and CEOs, so everyone must commit to keeping the corporate mission alive no matter the changes. 

Fundamentally it’s a generational principle we see in Scripture, although with much more than financial profits at stake. God calls us to be good stewards of all we’re entrusted with for His purposes and not our own. The endgame for thrivers is to leave a righteous legacy for future generations.

Eternal Inheritance

It’s not surprising, then, that our stewardship includes our children and the younger generation following in our footsteps. Our children will inherit what we invest in our lifetimes: “A good man leaves an inheritance to His children’s children” (Prov. 13:22, ESV). God empowers us to slay giants in order to move forward and attain the goal He has set for us. As we’ve seen, the battle belongs to the Lord, and we simply have to trust Him and seize the opportunities to thrive we’ve been given. We do this as torchbearers illuminating the future for our children and their children and all generations following us. Everything you and I do right now has a direct consequence on everyone behind us. We can set the table for them to thrive or create additional obstacles for them to overcome. 

Thrivers are committed to fighting giants now to clear the path for their children later. Thrivers know that God has already conquered, that Christ enables us to be more than conquerors, and that the Holy Spirit empowers us to create an eternal legacy. Jesus Himself told us, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33, CSB). 

He has defeated death once and for all, and by His glorious power we are more than conquerors with Him — we are, in fact, coheirs with Christ in God’s kingdom. Empowered by His Spirit, we know the battles we win allow us to steward the rewards entrusted to us. God told the Israelites, “Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy” (Num. 33:53, NLT). The land we possess —perhaps literally, but more importantly, spiritually — will be inherited by our children. They will not only reap the benefit of the battles we fight but also face the consequences of the ones we choose to avoid. 

Nonetheless, our children will not inherit our sins. Our children will inherit our blessings! We’re assured, “I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring” (Isa. 44:3, KJV). God places us in our specific families for a reason. We have the ability to influence, mold, and mentor our children and grandchildren unlike anyone else in their lives (Acts 16:31). They inherit our blessings: “Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed” (Ps. 112:1–2, KJV). Like the people of Israel we can rest in the knowledge that our children will never live in what God took us out of. The Israelites lived in bondage in Egypt until God heard their cries and answered their prayers. He liberated them from their captors, sustained them on their journey through the wilderness, and delivered them into the Promised Land. They no longer had to live under the oppression of the past: “But Moses told the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again’” (Exod. 14:13, NLT). 

We’re not called to forget or deny or pretend that we were never in whatever our particular Egypt may have been. A key part of our spiritual legacy is our testimony, our story of how God has delivered us and empowered us to triumph over all the giants, obstacles, and oppressors in our life’s journey. Passover is celebrated to this day as a time of recognizing the protection God granted His people when the angel of death descended during their captivity.

We’re called to be storytellers who pass down the epic of faith from one generation to the next. “Tell your children about it, and let your children tell their children, and their children the next generation” (Joel 1:3, CSB). Through our words and deeds of redemption we create monuments to the Lord’s power and goodness. “We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’” (Josh. 4:6, NLT). The spoils of battle, the tools of survival, and the trophies of grace stand to remind us and our descendants of how far God has brought us. They show that He has created us — and those who come after us — not merely to survive but to thrive! 

This excerpt from Samuel Rodriguez’s ‘From Survive to Thrive’ is used with permission from Charisma House.

Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, executive producer of “Breakthrough” with 20th Century Fox and a bestselling author. CNN and FOX News have called him “the leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement” and TIME magazine nominated him among the 100 most influential leaders in America. His new book "From Survive to Thrive" releases Nov. 17.

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