A heritage is like a relay team

As I read the following quote from Eugene Peterson in a Paula Hemphill post, I was captivated by its simple truth: “Without a cultivated memory, we live from hand to mouth on fad and novelty. But Christians don’t sprint out of the starting blocks in each generation in a race for heaven. We are on a relay team. We have a heritage, a richly composted family history.”*

She went on to say that the quote resonated deeply in her heart. And her mission is focused on passing on a love for God’s big story, biblically and historically, to her children, grandchildren, and others in her sphere of influence. I applaud her vision that is beyond what is just what’s in front of her in the process of life. There really is more to life than this life. We dare not be so self-absorbed that we fail to grasp the baton of godliness that must be handed to another generation.

Sometimes our culture acts intoxicated by its passion for self-indulgence and self-awareness. So much so, that very little thought is given to the unintended consequences of today’s actions.

It is not uncommon to find people expressing behaviors, even within the church and its extended ministries, that are short-sighted and smack of what is repeated in the Book of Judges, “every man did what was right in his own eyes.” Such thinking was generationally disastrous in the day of the judges and appears to follow the same pattern today.

Terminating the life of a yet-to-be born child in her mother’s womb has become symptomatic of our culture’s inattentiveness to the bigger picture—of not thinking through the larger consequences of a terminal decision social activists portray as a private decision.   

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What would today’s culture look like if, 47 years ago, we had responsibly thought through with clarity about the lives of the yet-to-be born instead being seduced by the rights propagated by the Sexual Revolution? Would we already have a cure for some of the world’s diseases? Would we already experience medical procedures by nanorobots that travel to diseased areas of the body via the blood stream, treat the affected tissue and remove themselves without surgery? Who knows what solutions would be found?

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On this side of standing before the presence of the Lord to give an account, we will never grasp the full measure of the consequences of contemporary culture’s most heinous sin. Despite the impact of humanistic naturalism on the education of three generations of our young, one day there will be full disclosure and many tears of regret.

In some places in our nation – and gratefully Missouri is one of those – the life of the yet-to-be born is cherished by the bulk of the culture and by current state leaders. We must be vigilant and we must pray wisdom prevails. We celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Day on Sunday, Jan. 19, as a reminder there is much work to be done to save the lives of the yet-to-be born children in our nation.

We must continue to speak into the culture that every child is wanted and there are loving parents who would care for them. Would it not make good sense to stop terminating the lives of children and compassionately invest in making adoption and foster care less of a burden? Wouldn’t an abortion-free state be a great legacy to pass on to the next generation? Wouldn’t a compassionate network of care ministry for moms in difficult circumstances be a wise use of our resources?

Until every child is cared for, we desperately need ministries like the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home that provides care for children, foster care, adoptive care, crisis pregnancy care, and care for the victims of sex slavery.

We are grateful for previous generations that saw the vision of this need. Perhaps they were more acutely aware of the depravity of mankind than people are today. The MBCH is one of the key ministries in the family of ministries supported by your offerings to your church – a church that voluntarily partners with other MBC churches in giving through the Cooperative Program.

Thank You!

*     *     *     *

The year-end figures are in, and once again Missouri Baptists were so gracious with their generous cooperative giving to the Cooperative Program, the Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions, and the Missouri Missions Offering. The Missouri Missions Offering set a brand-new record high investment into cooperative mission projects like the Collegiate Summer Missions Mentoring Initiative, Disaster Relief equipment, and 14 other mission projects.

*Quote from Water From a Deep Well by Eugene Peterson, 2013.

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