One Generation From Extinction?

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When I married, I lost my surname and took my husband’s. My sisters also married and then the name we had since birth was lost from our family. With no brothers to be able to carry the name into the future, it was gone.

My in-laws also saw the future of their name disappear. They had two sons who married and gave them eight granddaughters. Whether by marriage or when they die, the surname will be lost in one generation. 

Our faith heritage can suffer a similar fate. In just one generation, the faith of our fathers and mothers can be lost. Who holds this fast? In whose hands can we entrust this faith to ensure that our grandchildren and the generations to come will carry on trusting God? 

The obvious and truthful answer is there in the question. We trust God to hold us and keep us trusting Him. But that doesn’t allow us to be passive while God does all the work. 

Our family will never be big. It's likely that our two grandchildren (aged one and three years) will stride toward the future holding hands, just the two of them, carrying the family history, folklore, and faith with them. From our perspective, it is a scary country they are entering, full of dangerous terrain, uncertain and dark valleys, and threatening inhabitants. As grandparents we come from the relative calm of a Christian era, when even those who were not Christian lived by a Christian moral standard. Today we paused and asked ourselves: How do we prepare these little children for that foreign country called The Future?

Fortunately it is not up to us alone, and I believe this is the key. Of course they have believing parents and we must support them in their role to nurture faith in their children. But they also have five aunties and an uncle who will model a life of faith to them. We can and must give every effort to ensuring our faith heritage is not lost. We have a holy task as grandfathers, grandmothers, aunties, uncles, sisters, brothers, and parents. And as we do this, we are obliged to hold each other accountable before God. 

There is a future world in need of the Good News of Jesus. And I pray it will hear this Good News from the lips of my grandchildren.

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