The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten… After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel.
— Judges 2:7-8, Judges 2:10
What?? I mean … what??
Let’s see … one generation grew up under the incredible faith and leadership of Joshua, witnessed countless signs and wonders, crossed the Jordan River on dry ground, saw the walls of Jericho crumble around them, and won victory after victory as the indisputable underdog.
And the very next generation knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel.
This is almost inconceivable to me. What in the world happened to the faith of Joshua’s generation? Why didn’t they pass down their stories?
Maybe they were busy. Busy fighting off enemies. Busy turning their conquered land into home sweet home. Busy establishing their new lives in the Promised Land.
Or maybe they were tired after all that fighting and just wanted to take it easy for a while. I mean, they did a lot in their time. Surely they deserved a rest.
Or maybe they had simply grown complacent. After years of war, they had arrived. They were eating the literal fruits (giant grapes, anyone?) of their labor. Their guard was down, and they’d grown soft.
Whatever the reason, it’s pretty clear that Joshua’s generation dropped the ball. Or rather, the baton. The baton of faith that all of us are entrusted to pass on to the next generation.
It’s an incredible responsibility, for sure. Overwhelming, even, sometimes. But it is so vitally important that we pass on our legacies of faith. Because after all the ways we’ve seen and experienced God in our lives, we don’t want our children growing up neither knowing the Lord nor what He has done for us.
And here are three keys to passing down our stories of faith:
3 Keys to Passing Down Our Stories of Faith
Write them down!
When God does something great in your life, whether big or little, write it down! Not only will it remind you of everything He has done and fuel your faith, but it will be a record of His goodness for generations to come.
Talk about them often
Don’t keep your stories of faith to yourself like Joshua’s generation did. Talk about them with your kids, and talk about them often. It doesn’t have to be formal — it can be woven into normal, everyday conversation.
For example, we have an incredible story behind how we got the acreage we live on. It was nothing short of a miracle. And I remind Aidan of it regularly by saying things like, “You know, it’s because of God (and Daddy) that we get to live here. It looked impossible, but God made it possible!”
Encourage your kids to look for God’s hand in their own lives
As wonderful and necessary as your own stories are, however, don’t stop there! Use your legacy of faith as an example as you lead your children to build their own. Show them how to look for and see God working in their own lives.
My kids are still little, but I’ve already started this with my 4-year-old. When we were in a rollover accident last winter, we talked about what could have happened (we walked away completely unscathed!) and thanked God for His protection. And when he gets sick or hurt, we pray and celebrate when he is healed.
Thankfully, he hasn’t needed any major supernatural intervention in his little life yet (that we know of), but I believe that training him to see God in the little things will build the faith he will undoubtedly need for the big things later in life.
Of course, there are many methods for each of these steps, but these are the basic keys that are essential to passing down our stories of faith.
We cannot afford to get too busy, too weary, or too soft. We must be intentional about telling our stories often.
The next generation depends on our batons.
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