The Lost Link: Passing on the Baton

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In Hokkien, there’s a saying: “Hoh giah boh kei sah tai.” Wealth does not go beyond 3 generations in the family. We do see the truth in this: there are forefathers who worked hard to provide for their families – accumulating wealth only to be squandered and lost by the younger generations. What a pity! Why so? What happened? Was it because the wealth was not enough? Was it due to not lucrative enough concept of business to sustain the times? Not enough innovation?

In the OT, under Joshua’s leadership, the people had rest and peace enjoying possession of the promise land. But when Joshua died, what happened?

Judges 2
7 The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the Lord which He had done for Israel. 8 Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of one hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.

Leaders died. Good leaders who influenced the people to remember God’s acts of salvation, goodness and faithfulness to them, they passed on. Joshua and his contemporaries, the elders of Israel witnessed how God guided them from Egypt thru 40 years in the desert thru miracles and battles until they settled in the land of promise. They knew and they remembered God’s covenant – that God wanted them to obey and love Him. As long as they were around, the people did well. But somehow the baton was not passed on properly. The entire generation who knew God and followed Him died. Another generation came after. What a pity that this generation ‘did not know the Lord’ nor do they know ‘the work which He had done for Israel.’

Indeed it is sad that the legacy of knowing the Lord was not passed on properly. After Joshua and his peers died, the Israelites went from judges to judges. In those days, God sent judges to save the people from foreign oppression. The judge led them in the way of God and there would be peace in the land as long as the judge was alive. After the judge died, the people would go back to their evil ways. So they went through the vicious cycle of disobedience to the Lord, punishment from the Lord, crying out to the Lord, rescue from the Lord through the judge then back to rebellion against the Lord.

Today, parents work hard to give their children the good life – material things to ensure they have good education, have good careers, start good family and have a bright future. But material possessions do no last – they depreciate and evaporate.

Rather than just giving them fish, it is so much more valuable to teach them how to fish. Life is more than the material possessions. Many intangible things last and what is most important is knowing the Giver of all things.

What legacy am I passing on to my children? Do they know the Lord and the work that He had done for me – acts of grace and mercy? Do I recount the blessings and good deeds that God has bestowed in our lives? Do my children know the God of grace aside from just enjoying the grace of God? What do they know? Is it the most important thing of loving and obeying God? What wealth of lasting value am I passing on to the next generation? Does it last in eternity?

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