I look at the children of my peers who are continuing in their faith that started way back in VBS. Their faith started smack dab in the middle of graham crackers and apple juice, back before snacks were cool stuff like Doritos. (If you were lucky, the animal crackers were fresh.) These kids responded to the question,”Do you want Jesus to come live in your heart and take away your sins?” They said yes before they were even able to read those same words, sitting cross-legged on carpeting that smelled vaguely of mildew.
They heard Bible stories that told them to trust and pray like Daniel and Esther. We told them to be brave like David and the three Hebrews in Babylon and to be honest like Joseph in Egypt. In large measure, that’s what they’re doing.
These young people remind me of the passage in Deut. 6 where it says the children of Israel were led into the promised land to inherit “great cities that they did not build, cisterns and wells that [they] did not dig, and vineyards and groves that [they] did not plant.”
The young adults I know are not only physically beautiful, but also trained in the way of godliness in ways that were hard lessons for their parents. They never experienced the pain of parents not approving of their faith. The never had family who rejected and condemned their faith, who said it was a crutch for the weak, while demonstrating destructive patterns of substance abuse or weird, extreme codependencies. In my own case, my mother wasn’t all that mature in her faith, but at least she endorsed me.
The vineyard they inherit is the beginning of a life of prayer and knowing what it’s like to have the Holy Spirit visit them in their quiet time with His new wine. Biblical principles, like tithing don’t sound like a foreign language. Missionary service and giving is not alien, it’s normal. All of this beautiful framework is in place because someone had the guts and the grace to pioneer a new lineage of faith.
The challenge for anyone who grew up in a faith-filled environment is to realize that even though you inherited something- beautiful and precious like faith- it still needs to be tended to and guarded on a very personal level. Deuteronomy says that this inheritance must be kept by diligently remembering the slavery from which your parents were delivered from. Maybe for some it was many generations ago.
Tend the vineyards that were entrusted to you by God Himself. Identify the areas where your parents taught you legalistic, unscriptural rules. Forgive them. Be careful to keep His commandments like being merciful, hating injustice, and caring for the poor. Root out what threatens or destroys. Then, enjoy! Use the vast, expansive inheritance to do innovative new adventures that glorify the King and in turn produce something glorious!