way of clarifying that difference, for instance, is to ask our children
"what is the most valuable lesson about life you gained while growing up in our home?"
The answer points to the effect of what we may actually leave our children, and by extension perhaps, those who live around us. And if we ask our grandchildren, "what is the most important lesson about life you observed from your parents?" we may discover which lessons carried over from us into the generation influenced by our children.
While it's true that we cannot control the effect of what we actually leave behind, we can certainly give serious thought and active effort to what we intend to leave to those who follow.
In my life, if there was one value, practice or habit above all the others that I would wish to leave to our children it would be this: the value of opening the Bible daily, reading and meditating on one chapter in a systematic way and praying about what speaks to the heart - each and every day.
If I met with a person one hour, would never be able to see them again and could give them only one eternally secure reality to carry them through the challenges of this life it would be this spiritual discipline. (This I would consider the best I could give.)
I may leave other values as well. My prayer would be that among them are:
- following Christ, first and without reservation,
- seeking Christ for a personal life's mission statement,
- loving deeply and unconditionally, especially those who are difficult to love
- forgiveness of and reconciliation with those who have harmed me or I have harmed
- being a man of my word (keeping promises and commitments)
- care in the use of my tongue (which has the power to bless or curse)
- living my convictions with grace regardless of current trends or fads
Whether these are the values and practices I have left
in fact to
those who follow I must leave to others to determine. That I've not
done so as fully as I would have desired is the inevitable result of
being human. My weaknesses and failures, for which I ask forgiveness, notwithstanding,
these are the values I've learned in following Christ to be the most
important, have sought to live out and commend to you.
All these values in my experience however have flowed from the most important of these, the daily quiet time.