Monthly Archives: August 2016

What Kind Of Legacy Are You Leaving Your Children?{We interrupt our regularly scheduled Proverbs 31 programming to bring you this completely random post}

I was listening to NPR this morning and a story came on about wills. Something like half of Americans don’t have wills, and it can leave a mess for loved ones when people die without them. 

They mentioned a type of will I’d never heard of before, called an “emotional will.” According to one website I found, an emotional will “is designed as a way for you to share your thoughts, values, lessons in life, passions, hopes and dreams with your children and future generations in the years to come. This is your chance to ensure that you don’t leave this life with things left unsaid.” 

This struck me as odd, and a little bit sad that this is actually a thing. I mean, I understand the concept behind it, but should this type of thing be necessary? 

I want to leave an emotional will for my family. But I don’t want it to be a piece of paper they read while they are mourning my death and working through what life is going to look like without me.

Just like I don’t want my family to have to figure out what to do with my physical assets when I’m gone, I don’t want them to have to figure out what my thoughts, values, passions hopes and dreams were after I die. I don’t want to relegate those lessons to a letter they open in my absence.

This interview made me realize that every day, I am leaving an emotional will for my children. Everything I say, everything I do, is showing my children what I value, and therefore what they should value. 

I can do this accidentally, or I can do this intentionally. When I get to the end of my life, whenever that is, I want my children to be able to say to themselves and to others, “We know what our mother’s emotional will for us is.” I want them to be able to point to my life and say, “this is what our mother loved, this is what she valued, and this is how she wanted us to live our lives.”

Recently I listened to a sermon series by Matt Chandler about discipling children and families. He made the point that we are all making our children into disciples, the question is: of what.

If we are constantly talking about financial security, worried about money, striving for material comforts and being envious of people who have more than we do, our children will see that those things are important to us. And those things will become important to them. 

If we stress the importance of education, worry constantly about the state of our children’s schools and place great emphasis on grades and getting into college, our children will see that we value those things. And they will value those things as well. Certainly these are good things, important things even, but its easy to let these and other worldly concerns to take precedent over what should matter most. 

We can tell our children what we want them to value, but the lasting legacy we will leave on them comes from the way we live our lives. Our children learn by listening, but more than that they learn by observing. If they hear me say that Jesus is the most important thing in my life, but see me cling to worldly things, they will see right through my words and into my heart.

I can write an emotional will out on a piece of paper, telling my children about the life I wish I had lived and the values I wish I had shown them, and hope they listen to my posthumous words of wisdom. Or I can write my emotional will on my life, through the way I live, the way I love, the person I am because of my love for Jesus. That’s the legacy I want to leave for my children, and for everyone who knows me.

W


How To Work With Willing Hands“She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.” {Proverbs 31:13}

 So now we get to the meat of the passage we like to call the Proverbs 31 woman.

 What stands out to me immediately in these verses is the phrase “works with willing hands,” which, according to one commentary, is translated literally as “with the pleasure of her hands.”

 Wondering why this stands out to me? I’ll tell you why. Because that is not the natural disposition of my heart. I am not, and have never been, one to work willingly. And certainly not with pleasure.

I’ll work when necessary. I do what needs to be done. But I’ve always ascribed to the “work smart, not hard” way of doing things, which I tend to translate as “do only as much as is absolutely necessary, and if you can figure out how to do it more quickly or efficiently, all the better. More me time.”

It’s easy for us to say work=bad, play/rest=good. But we see in Genesis 2 that this is not the case.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” {Genesis 2:15}

This is the first thing God does with man when he creates him. He puts him to work. He creates for him a garden, and gives him responsibility over it. Believe it or not, work existed back when the world was as it should be.

Granted, we did almost immediately mess it up, but in its purest form, in the way God made it, work was meant to be good.

A few months ago, I was starting to get really wound up. Everything frustrated me, and my anxiety was getting the best of me. I found myself freaking out after breakfast every morning because an hour after waking up, there were already dozens of dishes to do.

Then one day as I was cleaning up, I realized the vanity in my frustration. No matter how many dishes I did the previous day, no matter how pristine the kitchen was when I went to sleep, there would always be dishes after breakfast in the morning. Just as there would always be laundry to do, and always bathrooms to clean, and always dog hair to vacuum. I could look at this as either a never-ending frustration or simply part of the work God has given me to do.

The dishes aren’t just a hurdle to jump in order to get started with my day. They’re an integral part of my day, part of my job as a homemaker. And I have complete control over how I go about cleaning them. I can look at them and let my heart rate rise, wishing they would just go away, or I can go to work with willing hands.

Colossians 3:23-24 says “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.”

Everything we do is, above all else, for the Lord, whether it is proclaiming his name among the nations or doing the dishes. If I can remember this, and do everything with this in mind, working willingly will come much more naturally.

Are you a willing worker? Do you have the same struggle I have, or have you found a way to delight in the work God has given you?

W