Ever since the first married couple (Adam & Eve) rejected God’s authority, God has been on a mission to restore broken humanity to himself.
God’s mission strategy is laid out in Genesis 12:
He starts by finding this 75 year-old, polytheist, named Abram, who’s childless and enjoying his retirement in a great city. God says to him (my paraphrase), “Leave your comfort, leave your security, leave your home. I’m sending you to a new place!”
Why? Because (God says), “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing...and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3).
“I’m going to build a legacy through you. Yes, you!”
“I’m going to reach this world through your family. Yes, you and your barren wife!”
As crazy as it sounds, God uses families to carry out his mission. Throughout the Old Testament, we read stories of God finding the most messed up, dysfunctional families and calling them to pursue a legacy of self-sacrifice instead of self-absorption.
Here’s his strategic plan in a nutshell: I’m going to gather a people to myself that will submit to my authority, experience my care—and in that context—they will display my character in such a way that people who are far from me will say, “I want to be in that family! I want to be a part of that!”
That’s God’s heart for the world. That’s God’s hope for his people. That’s God’s plan for you!
Here are 3 ways you can participate in God's mission by building a God-honoring legacy:
This is going to seem like the “E” on the eye-chart. But there’s a surprising trend (among Christians) to avoid having children. Now, I can’t tell you how many kids you should have. But I can tell you that it is encouraged all throughout Scripture. Children are a great inconvenience, but they are also a great blessing from God. I have rarely met a Christian couple—with a good family—who wishes they had less children.
Now, even as I say that, the goal of marriage is not simply to have children. And the goal of parenting is not simply to have productive, well-adjusted children (Though I hope your children leave your house by the time they’re 35). The goal is to have children that worship God and share the good news of Jesus Christ throughout the world. The Bible gives us this wonderful image for parenting: Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth (Psalm 127:4).
Some of you can’t have biological children—for medical reasons or otherwise. My wife and I experienced a miscarriage. We know that pain. We know many that struggle with infertility. It is a reminder that even as God delights in children, we live in a broken and fallen world in need of rescue. If you’re in that place, my heart goes out to you. But know, that you can still build an extraordinary legacy through adoption and mentoring.
Not every family should adopt. But I do believe that every family should pray about adoption.
I’m getting into my mid-forties. I have four kids. My wife just sent our youngest off to kindergarten. I’m ready to join the secret brotherhood. I’m ready to tap out biologically. I think we’re done. But I know we’re not done with praying about adopting kids. I just can’t get over the statistics.
In my city, there are hundreds of orphans. In my state, there are thousands. In our nation, there are tens of thousands. In the world right now, there are 170 million orphans looking for someone to love them.
Before your eyes glaze right over that, let me give you another stat. According to some friends in ministry, if 7% of people who claim the name of Christ would adopt one child, there would be no orphans. You can make a difference. So let me put that burden on you a little bit.
You don’t have to be married or have children to impact the lives of children. Mentoring children is a great way for you to build a legacy.
One of The Journey's ministry partners is Mission St. Louis, a non-profit loving and serving the city in practical ways. The mentors at Mission St. Louis are supporting children through after-school and summer programs. They’re supporting men in their twenties and thirties by teaching them job skills and training them to be leaders in their homes and communities.
These mentors are doing life-changing work. You can totally take part in that work. I guarantee if you do some digging, you will find avenues to engage where you are.
Want to build a lasting legacy? Engage in God’s mission with your “family!"