Generation Cedar

Is it sheer distraction? (We are, quite possibly, one of the most distracted, amused generations/societies that ever lived.) I like to think that in times past, people had more vision for the future. They looked ahead and acted today in a way that would impact tomorrow.

In What He Must Be, Voddie Baucham describes a time when he announced his plans to plant trees in his backyard and then excitedly brought his family out to see them. The children were less than amused at their young ages because the trees were mere shrubs. He explained that in five or ten years the trees would be large and shady. To his children, though, five or ten years seemed “like forever.” He seized a teachable moment and told them,

“Kids, you must seek to become the kind of people who plant shade trees for others to sit under.

He went on to explain all the sacrifice others before us have made in order for us to enjoy so many things today.


Perhaps that’s the rub. Somehow, somewhere, we lost the motivating factor behind sacrificing for others. Well, unless it’s the en vogue practice of buying a really cool water bottle to slow “global warming”, but beyond that, too many live for the moment, for this life, with little regard for their potential to influence another time in history.

Also from the book, a study by A.E. Winship traced the prodigy of the notorious preacher and theologian, Jonathon Edwards. Edwards lived from 1703 until 1758.

In 1900, Winship found 1400 descendants. In that number were 13 college presidents, 65 professors, 100 lawyers, 30 judges, 66 doctors (and a dean of a medical school), and 80 holders of public office including 3 US Senators, mayors, governors, a Vice-President of the US and controlled of the US Treasury. They had written over 135 books and many had entered the ministry. Over 100 were missionaries and many more on mission boards.

(An interesting side note is that Edwards was the only boy of eleven children.)

Now much of that list is only success as the world views it; if they walked with the Lord, that is enough. And this list doesn’t track the number of godly fathers and mothers in that bunch.

And I’m sure there were some less than desirable stories to tell among the family; but the overall impression we get, looking at a family like Edward’s, is that serious sacrifice, time and vision went into raising children in the Edward’s home. Something very important was being passed down from one generation to another. 

I’m challenged, among all my distractions, to look ahead. I’ve said that I often look into the cute little face in front of me and make myself envision of man or woman. What am I doing this moment, that will effect positive change–change for the Kingdom–in the course of his or her life? Sobering.

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9 Responses

  1. Well said Kelly, and so couinter cultural at this time. I have come to realize if my children fall away to some degree that responsibility is mine. I am not rearing a child to 18, I am getting a soul entrusted to me ready for eternity.

    Happy New Year to all of you!

  2. I completely agree with the sacrificig thing. I believe that the “dying to self” to achieve a greater good is becoming a lost virtue. I know I have been guilty of it at times. One of my main goals to work on over this new year.

  3. I think that when extended families lived closeby each other, generationally, it was easier to look ahead: older family members could warn and caution. Many of us today don’t have that advantage. You really do have to look beyond the end of your nose when raising children.

  4. I have been watching the American Heritage Series by Wallbuilders.It addresses the sacrifices and the unbelievable devotion to God in their lives. They laid a christian foundation that has helped shape our Constitution. We need to be looking to our future with same values and determination. As we raise Godly children to look to the future and their part in it.They will know the truth will win out.

  5. one of the things i will always be greatful for, i was practically raised by my grandmother and great aunt. like civilla said, the multi generational family is such an eye opener. i pray that someday my children will understand the importance of patience, and of not living for your own life, and lifetime. what a great post for the new year kelly, thanks!

  6. I was very blessed to have my father and grandmother raise me, and they were very forward looking. They were older (my father was nearly 40 when I was born, — he was born in 1915 himself — and 43 when my brother was born), and older people have been down the path and have wisdom to advise. They knew what they wanted for us children.

    They wanted my brother to have a trade so he could support a family; they wanted me to be a homemaker with a skill to fall back on should I ever have to support myself. I also had to take music lessons, so that I wouldn’t grow up to be a “horse’s a**” in my father’s words (I didn’t grow up in a Christian home). My brother and I had nothing to say about this. I was signed up for secretarial courses in school, and music lessons whether I liked it or not. (He nixed ballet lessons as impractical, and we couldn’t afford both: “When you are 30 years old, nobody is going to ask you to do a ballet dance in their living room, but if you can play a musical instrument, you will always be asked to play!” and he was right.) My brother was taught welding by my father himself. My father was very authoritative, so he had his way. We weren’t happy at the time, but we’re glad now.

    I tried to bring that forward looking aspect into my marriage and raising my children. You have to have a vision for your children: where do you want them to be in 20 years? Praise the Lord, I can honestly say that ours are where we want them to be right now. Warning: older children are not always co-operative, but DON’T GIVE UP. We have the Lord on our side and can pray.

    Older family members are natural mentors because of the relationship. They will not always be mere cheerleaders, though, but will step in with advice and warnings, which is not always appreciated. In our country, younger people tend to blow off the older ones, often to their own detriment.

  7. Great post. This thought alone is what forced me to be the wife I am called to be instead of the nag and boss. I didn’t want our daughter to turn out like I was. Now, because I submit, I am the boss of the house like the Prov 31 woman, the helpmate of my honey, and the teacher of our girlie, too. See women can have it all. *Chuckle*

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