Heritage, inheritance, and legacy are all terms that speak of one generation of people handing down to the next generation something very special that is worth preserving.
What that special something is depends on a person’s value sytem. To some, a heritage worth passing on to each succeeding generation may be a family name, an heirloom, a piece of land, or money.
While these and other things of similar nature hold some value in this world, yet in each case their worth is limited and transitory. If any of us have been carried away with valuing earthly inheritance above measure, take some time to study the lesson Jesus taught in his parable of the rich fool when addressing a dispute over inheritance (Luke 12:13-21).
A well-known, beloved hymn focuses our attention on a heritage that is of far greater worth and lasting value than anything this world has to offer:
God’s Word is our great heritage And shall be ours forever; To spread its light from age to age Shall be our chief endeavor. Through life it guides our way, In death it is our stay. Lord, grant, while worlds endure, We keep its teachings pure Throughout all generations. (TLH 283)
The revealed Word of God found in the Bible is such a great heritage worthy of being handed down to every generation, because of the light of God’s saving grace that shines forth radiantly from its holy pages. That wondrous Word of light blesses us with the priceless gift of life and salvation. It unerringly guides us in the paths of righteousness for Jesus’ sake. It continually warms our hearts with the spirit of love in the knowledge of God’s redeemng love for us. And it unfailingly sustains us in the faith to the very end of our life so that we can finally experience the fullness of joy in the eternal inheritance of heaven.
At our synod convention this summer, we have the special privilege of gathering together to thank and praise the Lord for blessing our church body with the great heritage of His Word over the past forty years. Mindful that this precious inheritance has been divinely handed from one generation to the next, the convention theme has been entitled “God’s Word is STILL our Heritage.” The three convention essayists are by the grace of God a reflection of this, as they represent three generations of faithful pastors from the same family line (Pastor Lester Schierenbeck em., Pastor John Schierenbeck, and Pastor Michael Schierenbeck).
Over the short history of the Church of the Lutheran Confession, it has been the abiding prayer of our Christian brethren that the Lord grant us the grace to keep His teachings pure throughout all generations. Faithfulness in teaching and practice has been highly treasured and diligently contended for because of what our Savior assures us in His Word: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31f).
Not only can we be thankful that God has preserved His liberating Word in our midst over the years, but also that He has given us the high honor of being His ambassadors in spreading its saving light to different regions of the world.
The cherished hymn cited above not only helps us to give thought to past spiritual blessings, it also helps us look to the future with the prayer that the Lord will continue to grant this grace to us and to each succeeding generation.
–Pastor Mark Gullerud