Friday, April 29, 2016

“Pass It On”

Submitted by Jim Garner

With aging parents our family has had the opportunity to go through lots of closets, cabinets, and crannies over the past few years. We have discovered everything from lost items and collectibles we haven’t seen in years to the best of junk that any packrat would love.  Some things we have wanted and some things…well…you know.
At some point in time, many of these “pass it on” items have meant something special to the owner. It might be a thing they made, earned, or were even recognized for a special achievement. It might have been an heirloom that their family members had passed down through the decades and now it was their turn to host. It might not necessarily be worth a lot of money on the open market, but to that family it is special and brings back warm memories.
When it comes to passing things down or giving things away we do it because it meant something valuable to us and we want someone else to have the joy or blessing of owning or using it. What a privilege it was to enjoy it but now it is even a greater joy to share it with a family member or friend.
The truth be told, there are many things we hold in high esteem like this in our families. And it is good to enjoy, appreciate, and share. But in reality, these things are only earthly material items and will not last or make a difference for eternity.
However, we do have something eternally valuable and significant to pass along to others. What is it?  It’s our faith, a gift that we enjoy here on earth and will for eternity. But it is not just ours to hold on to and never share with others. It is a gift that keeps giving. It has changed our personal lives and countless others around us – family, friend, and even enemy.
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” (2 Timothy 1:5)
Paul, in his letter to Timothy, reminds him of the importance and personal side of faith. It was real and life changing. He used the word “sincere”. It mattered to Paul and you can see how he wanted Timothy to know just how special it was and should not be taken for granted.  This faith was evident not only in Timothy but in his grandmother and mother. They all had impacted his life spiritually. They didn’t hide their faith from Timothy but lived it out in front of him and others. This spiritual heritage would not end with them or Timothy. Paul goes on to encourage Timothy in this passage to “fan into flame the gift of God” (v.6), “not be ashamed of the testimony” (v.8), and “guard the good deposit” (v.14). (2 Timothy 1) As we can clearly see, our faith is to be given away to impact others.
So as we think about our faith and what we have received as a gift from God and others, let’s consider the following:
·      Who passed on to you their spiritual heritage (faith) that led to your becoming a follower of Christ?
·      Since becoming a “follower”, what person has impacted your spiritual journey the most or how have you been impacted most spiritually?
·      Who are you intentionally passing on your faith?
I’ve received some nice, memorable things from family that I will always hold special to me. It reminds me of good times we had together, special relationships we had, and purpose I’m supposed to have in life. I will never take it for granted.

But most importantly, I’ll never forget the spiritual heritage my mother, Mary Ruth Garner, passed on to me. She raised me going to church where I had solid biblical preaching and teaching, opportunities to grow and serve, and positive male mentors in my life. But at the start of it and heart of it was my mother’s love for Jesus and me that she made sure I knew and would never forget. It’s been 25 years since my mom passed away, but I’m forever grateful for the heritage she has left me and still lives on today in me and my family.
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Timothy 2:1-2)
One of our favorite songs we used to sing back in youth group in the 80’s was “Pass It On”. What a classic song in music and meaning. The words of this great hymn echo still today in meaning especially when it comes to sharing our faith and spiritual heritage. Check out the first verse below and “pass it on”.

“It only takes a spark to get a fire going, And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing; That's how it is with God's love, once you've experienced it: you spread His love to everyone, you want to pass it on.

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