I have been so rocked by the realization and revelation of my spiritual heritage and inheritance lately.
What is an inheritance? A wealth that my parents built to pass on to me — so that I could start my life at a higher standard than them. It was absolutely nothing that I worked for or earned.
Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
When one generation is given revelation, it is intended that the next generation carry it on and build upon it. My parents have laid down their lives so that what they built is actually my foundation. I start building my floor on their ceiling.
I started thinking a few weeks ago about what this means for me. I grew up with my dad on Young Life staff, watching my parents disciple high school kids my entire life. I spent more Monday nights than I can count lying in the back of an old skating rink, listening to Dad preach the gospel to hundreds of high school kids. I bet if we could somehow trace the lives my parents have impacted and the lives those people have impacted over the last two decades, there would be a sea of people lined up.
Then I started thinking about my grandparents, who in their retirement became missionaries to Honduras and founded a program that’s now providing an education and discipleship for 800 kids across the country. They’re literally raising up the next generation of a nation to break the bondage of poverty.
And these are the people of my bloodline. This is the legacy I’ve been left to carry. Not to mention my spiritual parents — people in my life who have discipled me and poured into my life over the years. I truly have a rich, rich inheritance.
Just this weekend Noland was leading worship for a Young Life training weekend in Dallas, and I went to introduce myself to one of the speakers who my mom had told me I needed to meet. When I told him who my parents were the first thing he said was, “You have an amazing family. You’ve got a big legacy to carry on.”
There was a holy heaviness that fell on my shoulders when he said that. He was right. And it’s humbling and encouraging to think about the fact that my sisters and I have been set up for greater heights in ministry simply because of two generations of our family that have gone before us. They’ve broken through territory that we now get to breeze through so that we can break into the next land that needs to be trail blazed.
And it isn’t enough to simply maintain what we’ve been given in our inheritance from them. We’re called to build upon it. Our job is to keep running.
So I feel compelled to honor those who have gone before me and just say thank you. Grandma, Papa, Mom, Dad — you’ve left a legacy of giving your life to the advancement of the Kingdom so that Jesus will come back, and it’s an honor to say that I get to carry on what you’ve started.
And to the spiritual parents who have gone before me and imparted different pieces of the character and mission of God on my life — you’re just as worthy of honor and thanks. Eve Sarrett, Adrienne Barclay, Annie Thomas, Ellie Holcomb — wouldn’t be walking with Jesus the way I am today without you.
I don’t know where Noland and I are going from here, or when we’re going from here, but I know that our call all the days of our lives is to go and make disciples, and we have a beautiful inheritance in that calling.
So often I feel like when I ask God, “What do you want me to do?” He answers with, “This is who you are.”
…and who I am begins with the people who have gone before me. I am eternally grateful and unbelievably humbled by the selflessness of those people. It makes our mission so much bigger than our tiny dream of planting a church. It puts into perspective the power of all of God’s people working together for one purpose. And quite honestly, it makes me want to spend a week on my face and just say, “God, whatever you want for us, the answer is yes.”
So parents, grandparents, and spiritual parents — thank you. For laying down your lives for the sake of the Kingdom coming, and for setting me up to see even greater moves of God than you have. I’m honored to say I come from you. I’m challenged by the lives you live. I’m expectant for the adventure that lies ahead of me and my children because of who you are.