“I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

John 4:38 (NLT)

Years ago PBS did a series of family histories of famous Americans. They wanted to include a pastor, so they asked me if I would participate. They took a swab of DNA from my mouth, and they used it to trace my family tree back a thousand years. They didn’t discover that I’m the descendent of kings, but they found all kinds of interesting things and compiled it for a TV special.

One of the things they discovered is the amount of godly ancestors I have. I am reaping the benefit and blessings from grandparents and great-grandparents and others who were praying for their children’s children and making disciples in our family. I can see the blessings in my life because I had people in my family who loved God and were praying for future generations.

I know many would say, “I didn’t have a family like that. But I’d like to have a legacy like that.”

You start it! Start that kind of legacy—the kind with eternal effects—with your family. You determine that the future generations of your family name are going to be blessed because you planted seeds of godliness, because you prayed and did not give up, even when you didn’t get to see the harvest. If you do, the people who come out of your family tree will have a blessing in heritage.

You are harvesting both good and bad from your past. Why? Because you’re not the only person sowing. You need to take your choices very seriously, because your life is going to affect future generations. You can’t control the past, but you can break the chain of hurt and abuse and ungodliness now. You can change the course for your family. You can establish a godly legacy by sowing seeds of prayer and love and generosity and faith.

Jesus said in John 4:38, “I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest” (NLT).

You may never see the harvest here on earth. But you can be sure your faithfulness will have an impact for generations to come and for eternity.

Talk It Over

  • How has your family legacy affected your life?
  • What do you want your grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be able to harvest because of what you planted in your life?
  • If you do not have children, who is your spiritual family that will benefit from your faithfulness?