Heritage; March 21, 2023

Psalms 16:6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

This Psalm has various impactful verses, but I keep coming back to this one because it was a favorite of my father and grandfather before me. It is interesting that David would say this, because he was not the oldest son and his father’s land would not have come to him as an inheritance, even though the terminology in this verse is explicitly that of real estate. That leaves us with the conclusion that David wasn’t talking about tangible things at all. There are indeed many kinds of inheritance, and frankly, some aren’t worth having! Parents pass many things on to their children, starting with simple genetics. We can’t escape that! Further, parents pass on their values, whether they intend to or not. A Japanese proverb talks about children learning things from “watching their parents’ backs.” It has been said many times, but we communicate far more, ultimately, by what we do than by what we say. Words are certainly important, and we should let our children know why we do what we do the way we do them, but it’s the actions themselves that communicate most loudly. In terms of words, patterns of speech also pass down from generation to generation, and not just in terms of accents. Profane parents will usually raise profane children, verbally abusive parents abusive children, and kind, encouraging parents kind, encouraging children. Of course it’s important to note the “usually” there. Parents aren’t the only influence on their children! However, they are certainly a very big influence, and that is the biggest part of the heritage they leave.

I was incredibly blessed that my father and grandfather not only loved this verse, they also confessed verse 2 in honesty: “I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’” Both men were totally committed to Christ, and I have reaped more blessings from that than I could count. Recently another missionary family saw their matriarch off to heaven, and I quoted this verse to them. None of us know how long we will be here, so we all need to live so that those after us will be able to quote this verse in gratitude and joy. I have two physical children and numerous spiritual ones as well. It is my prayer that this verse will be their confession, as it is mine.

Father, thank You indeed for the truly delightful heritage I have received. There is so much to it! Thank You that my inheritance in Christ is even greater, because my physical ancestors were finite and fallible as I am. Help me be a good steward of the heritage You have given me, on all levels, for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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