Have you thought of all the benefits in your life that came from others before you?
Consider the city you live in, the country you’re a part of, and possibly the church you attend. Consider the sacrifices of those who have fought for freedom, worked hard to provide for you as you grew up, and prayed for you.
Instead of living our lives selfishly, we should return the favor to people coming after us – those who will be living in 100 years. What will you do today that will make a difference for them?
I recently read the book Win The Day by Mark Batterson. In the “Winding the Clock” chapter, Mark shared how so much of what we now experience came from those who worked hard and prayed hard a few generations ago. You can probably think of examples in your life. In my life, it wasn’t too many generations ago that our family migrated from Europe. My grandpa fought in WWII and our world was better off. My mom and dad bought me several guitars as a child and had music playing in the house. As a result, I play music every week of my professional life.
Here’s a quote from the book:
We are the beneficiaries of sacrifices we cannot imagine and risks we cannot calculate. We live in cities we did not build, drink from wells we did not dig, and harvest fields we did not plant. Why? Because people long, long ago wound the clock forward with their faith, hope, and love. We are the answers to prayers we know nothing about. Why not return the favor? Quit wasting time, and wind the clock for the third and fourth generation. Go, set, ready!
Much of your life is based on decisions your family made many years ago. And your decisions today will affect life for others in the future.
The same goes for the church you are a part of, the business you are in, and the community where you live. Decisions today matter for the future. How will you help set the next generation for success?
Here are a eight basic starting points to get you thinking:
1) Time you spend — When you invest time in the lives of your children, family, friends and others you are making an impact in how they will live their lives into the future.
2) Money you give and save — Your generosity and sacrificial giving to your church, missions, and ministry organizations to help serve the underprivileged is a huge way to wind the clock. Saving money is another. You never know the legacy you can leave for those coming after you.
3) Ministries you serve — The time invested in ministry (volunteer or otherwise) will boost the faith of others for generations. You never know the kind of impact you can have, but nearly every testimony mentions the name of someone in some ministry setting.
4) Writing you do — Whether it’s a full book, a journal, or simply letters to people, your writing can make a difference in the lives of people coming after you. Make notes in your Bible, write letters to your family, or go ahead and write that book you’ve been thinking about.
5) Prayers you pray — God always hears our prayers. Christians are called to pray for others and as we do, things happen. If we want to truly have a generational impact, we need to pray hard for the lives of those following us. Pray for the next generation.
6) Disciplines you have — The disciplines that could affect the generations coming after you include reading your Bible, prayer, healthy eating, exercising, giving, taking time for people, saving money, praying before meals, listening, attending worship, and many more.
7) Habits you break — This list is numerous, but some may include breaking the habit of drinking, smoking or stealing. Though additions are difficult to leave, it can be the difference between winding the clock for your future generations or just stopping the clock all together.
8) Decisions you make — Trusting God with major decisions like where to move, which job to take, or who to marry are major turning points for your family. The city in which I currently reside was where my family moved when I was high school. I didn’t have a choice, but their choice made a difference in my life.
Live with the future in mind.