A Father’s Legacy
Jim Berg wrote about the state of the family: “The family, which should be the greatest refuge for the child, has become a domestic battlefield where a child is often caught in the crossfire of his parents’ warfare. The time and energy that should be spent giving him the direction and training he needs to prepare him for life are drained by each spouse’s preoccupation with protecting his ‘territory’ from the other spouse.”
Psalms 103: 17 and 18 says, “But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.” Proverbs 10: 7 tells us, “The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.”
A study was once done on two men who lived in the late 1700’s, both from the same state of New York: The first, Max Jukes, did not believe in Christ or in Christian training. He refused to take his children to church even when they asked to go. Many fathers today are like Max, they do not follow Christ and they see no value in Christian training. Some even invent ways or make excuses for keeping their family from the true things of God. Max’s decision was very destructive to his family and costly to the state of New York. Max had 903 known descendants. One hundred were sent to prison for an average term of thirteen years, ninety were public prostitutes, one hundred forty-five were admitted alcoholics, two hundred eighty-five had social diseases, and three hundred were delinquents. The report estimated that the crimes and care of the Max Jukes’ family line cost the state of New York over one million dollars. The second man studied was the great Puritan preacher, Jonathan Edwards. He was an uncompromising theologian and pastor who lived to please God and was a man of prayer.
The researcher found 1,394 descendants of Jonathan Edwards. His descendants included thirteen college presidents, sixty-five prominent lawyers, thirty-two noted authors, ninety physicians, eighty-six state senators, thirty judges, three congressmen, one vice-president of the United States and two hundred ministers of the gospel. It has been said that the family of this man of God never cost the state of New York a single penny for rehabilitation or for incarceration.
To keep proper balance and a true perspective one must realize that there may well have been people who held respectable jobs and did wonderful things for their communities from Max Jukes’ family tree. And quite possibly there were some black sheep in Jonathan Edwards’ family line that were not exposed during the investigation. But as a whole, the family line of Max Jukes suffered the consequences of neglecting God. (Romans 1: 18 – 32) The family line of Jonathan Edwards experienced the promised blessings of God. (Exodus 20: 4)
Fathers, God gives you this day an opportunity to choose your family’s legacy. Will you choose Christ as your own Savior and Lord? Will you then seriously take up the instruction of the Lord to “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”