Claim Your Heritage

Words continually pop into my thinking process…

We The PeopleAnd I spend time thinking about the use of the word, its definition, and then how it applies to me. There were several words that crept into my mind this morning on a quiet 30 minute drive that I had all by my lonesome.

The one that stuck was “Heritage”… You know, its the word that describes what you “inherit” (original use) from those who have gone before. Generally it’s the generation just before, as in our parents, or even grandparents, and what they leave to their successors. Occasionally its the family connection to business or property.

But, it can also be used to indicate that range of historical depth that represents your genetic or cultural past.  For me it includes my state of birth (Texas, USA), my name (Gurley), my DNA (I hear it’s Welsh, Choctaw, Cherokee, UK), along with the experiences of life I’ve enhanced with travel, education, career choices, marriage, etc.. Add to these “natural” things, it includes other important items like my love of books and study, joy of collections, my dislike of deep math, my natural ability with computers, a love for understanding the world around…

This conglomerate view of who I am is passed as my heritage to my successors.

But will they want it? That’s not for me to say. We have watched mothers and fathers all around us attempt to pass on their heritage to the next generation, only to have it rejected and refused. Even laughed at. Talked about.

The older I get the more I look to the past to acknowledge who I am, where I came from and what I have done with the many blessings provided. Consider this post I made the other day:

What shaped you to be what you are today?
This is not a “who” question.
The “who” goes like this.
Who shaped you to be who you are today?
There is a difference between the “what” and the “who”…
Keep that in mind as you work on answering the question.
It is very important…

My heritage includes a walk with God that I greatly appreciate. It’s not something that began with my parents, but it something that has passed through them to me. It comes from a cross sectional view of Christianity that has a heritage of thousands of years. While true that the “life” of a Christian has changed throughout the ages, the very idea that it is not a flash in the pan as something new and crazy like all those multi-level marketing schemes!

Overall its the view of life that I trust my future to.

Here’s my thought. Your heritage may not be the best. Your past may be cloudy by a host of generational bad choices that are not of your choosing. Though saddled with the bad, you are not stuck with them for your future. You have the ability to create a New Heritage!

Generationally, you may be stuck with a heritage you cannot accept. But you have the possibility of creating a new heritage for your successors. There is a quote I keep handy, but it always seems to be lost in the morass of my desk and files. In a letter to his wife, Abigail, John Adams penned these words.

“The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”

By: John Adams (1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
Source: A Letter to his wife, Abigail Adams, 1780

Every beginner of a heritage path wants to work hard so that subsequent generations will have it better. But notice his focus. The opportunities he describes in the future do not continue the process of carrying forth the work he himself took ownership of. You cannot pick up those future items and not have the desire to keep the foundation strong.

So. Your heritage creation needs to lay a strong foundation that will stand the test of time, but you need to ensure that the future generation has the ability to carry forth that foundation so they can enjoy some of the lighter studies of life.

This is what I think about when I consider those early followers of Christ. Their hard work in the beginnings laid the foundation for all of us, but we cannot simply rest upon their work and take a life of ease. No, we still have hard work ahead of us. It is not timely that we relax and rest when so many still need to hear, know and experience the benefit of a Godly walk.

In fact, Peter uttered these words that I live by even today.

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”  (Acts 2:38-39 NKJV)

This future and never ending promise is not to take it easy, but to continue the work begun back then.

So.. What’s your heritage and who is the provider of your heritage? If it is not the best, now is the best time to build upon a solid foundation and make it better for the future!