For awhile now I have been asking God what my purpose is now that I am no longer a wife. Others have given me their opinion, but I wasn’t ready to hear it. Recently God gave me part of the answer about that through a message by Charles Stanley and I want to share it with you because I believe that it is the purpose that all widows have whether they are a mother or a grandmother or neither. How we live the rest of our lives is going to make an impact on anyone who knows us whether they are family members or not.
My main purpose as a widow is to develop a spiritual inheritance. This is something that only I can do because there is no other person in this world like me. No one else touches the lives of my family or those people that I come in contact with like I do.
This is what I heard in that message:
The word “inheritance” is usually associated with material possessions, but there is another kind of legacy that’s even more valuable. Although it can’t be seen, counted, or measured, a spiritual inheritance is the most priceless gift you can pass on to your children and grandchildren (and others who know you). It is imparted over the course of a lifetime when adults use Godly words and display Godly actions. But remember, you cannot give what you do not have. This is why I am responsible for developing my own spiritual life first.
The apostle Timothy is a wonderful example of someone who was blessed with such a treasure. When he was young, his mother and grandmother shared their faith and knowledge of Scripture with him, and because of it, he had a firm foundation to stand on when he was called into ministry.
What are the components of a spiritual heritage? What does it look like and what does it involve? There are many spiritual treasures you can leave that will have a lasting impact on lives. You can instill:
A. A desire to follow Jesus. Although you can’t pass on salvation, your desire for the Lord is contagious. When your children, grandchildren, or others around you experience the joy you feel when you talk about Christ, they’ll also become interested in Him. Their interest in Christ comes from watching and seeing that He is the center of your life.
B. A reverence for God’s Word. No other book in the world can match the Bible, and I have the responsibility to share it with my children, grandchildren, and others. Let them see me reading the Word so they know how important it is. Be sure to give them Bibles and read to them regularly. As your children and grandchildren grow, challenge them to search God’s Word for answers.
C. An understanding of how to listen to the Lord. The most important thing in life is to learn how to listen to God. He can’t be perceived by our physical senses, so children and grandchildren must be taught to listen with their spirits. Instruct them to ask the Lord for direction and wait for answers. When they think the Lord has spoken, help them discern if what they heard is consistent with God’s Word.
D. A pattern of obedience. Since kids follow our examples more easily than our words, the best way to teach obedience is by modeling it. This means we must let them know when our actions are done out of submission to God. It also requires we admit mistakes and explain why it was wrong for us not to follow the Lord.
E. A faith that conquers the trials of life. Although we want to protect children from adult worries, we also need to let them know some of our struggles so they can see how we trust the Lord in hard times.
F. A forgiving heart. Like all the other benefits of a spiritual heritage, this difficult one must be taught by example. Our children and grandchildren as well as others need to witness a forgiving response from us when we’re wronged. Christ holds nothing against us, so we don’t have a right to do it either.
G. An orderly lifestyle. One of our jobs as parents is to provide disciplined lives for our children. Since they learn how to handle responsibilities from us, it is important that we demonstrate self-control in our actions, finances, diets, and schedules. This self-control extends out to others in our lives, too.
H. A servant’s spirit. A willingness to serve others is a valuable quality that will benefit not only our children and our grandchildren but anyone that we come in contact with even on a daily basis. It’s up to us as adults to model this characteristic for them by unselfishly putting others first so that others will learn to imitate our servant-hearted behaviors.
I. A generous hand. Every child enters this world bent away from God. As parents, we have a responsibility to teach them generosity because it won’t come naturally. When they see us freely sharing our money, possessions, and time, they’ll understand the joy of giving and how God is always faithful to provide for those who are charitable towards others (Luke 6:38)
J. Sincere love. Everyone needs to feel loved. As they experience our genuine, unconditional affection, they’ll learn to give it to others. This kind of devotion is not demonstrated by the things we give them but by pouring our lives into theirs.
We provide a spiritual inheritance to others in three ways. Most importantly, we do so by the pattern of our own lives. Secondly, we pass on the principles that govern our lives to them. That’s why it’s our responsibility to explain the Biblical truths we believe and follow. And finally, we provide a spiritual legacy through the power of our words as we interact daily with others.
I am the only picture of God not only to my family, but to others. What kind of spiritual inheritance am I going to leave behind?