I am not a runner and never have been, but I respect anyone who does. Our daughter had not been a runner either, but made it a goal to start running as she was helping her kids to learn to run a mile as a homeschool mom. What a great goal! She surprised herself with her accomplishment and went on to run a number of races after that including running the Army 10-miler and a half marathon. We couldn’t have been prouder of her disciplined training. She encouraged me often to try it and if we had lived nearer to one another, she might have succeeded.
Even so, as a part of fulfilling God’s purposes, we are all in a relay race. We pass the baton from one generation to another. For a long time the goal has been to leave the world in a better place, one generation after another. For better or worse, we pass on a legacy to all those who follow after us.
You hear that message when you hear an older generation make a comment about wanting their children or grandchildren to have a better education or better job than they had. You see it in the sacrifices of the older generation to provide it for another. I watched it unfold in my life as well.
My grandparents, aunts and uncles, on my dad’s side of the family moved from eastern Pennsylvania to Ohio for the opportunity to purchase large adjoining acres of rich farmland to provide an expanded future for my dad’s generation. My dad’s generation discovered my generation did not have a great interest in farming so their goal was to provide good education to launch my generation into adulthood. And so it continued as my generation sought to provide an even better education and more opportunities.
Many of us were born out of families and generations that considered sacrifice to be an honor and a responsibility. The sacrifices they often made were less about “getting ahead” themselves or getting “more stuff” and more about what future they could give as they passed the baton to the next generation.
One generation that has often been heralded for sacrifice has been called “The Greatest Generation”, those who were of the WW II era who volunteered in unprecedented numbers whether for battle or to work in factories to make the world a safer, better place for their children.
Now that I am older with children and grandchildren of my own, I pause to wonder. In some ways we have already passed the baton to our adult children and have been blessed to see some of the legacy that is showing up in our grandchildren. We get to see glimpses, but the full view of the legacy will be beyond our lifetime.
Barry C. Black put it this way:
“God expects us to be world changers, to live lives that matter, to make someone or something different, ensuring that the world is a better place because we lived here.
We become world changers because God first changes us.”
How true are his words! God must change us first. Only when we are reconciled to Him who made peace on the cross, can we let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts in all of our relationships. It is really the gospel that transforms us from the inside out. The gospel doesn’t compel us to love against our will, but instead changes our will.
Only the power of the gospel can cause us to become more like Him in words, attitudes, and actions. Then we can truly be salt and light in this world and leave a legacy of His love, grace, mercy, and truth as we pass the baton in this relay.