Pass It On - Man as Chaplain

"I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts." - Psalm 145:1-4 ESV

Having just returned from a fishing trip with my sons and grandsons in Alaska, the story of another fishing trip caught my eye. Nineteenth-century political figure and diplomat Charles Francis Adams, Sr., was the grandson of Founding Father John Adams and son of John Quincey Adams, both U.S. presidents. Charles kept a diary, and one day he entered: "Went fishing with my son today - a day wasted." His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary, and on that same day, he entered: "Went fishing with my father - the most wonderful day of my life!" The father thought he was wasting his time fishing with his son, but his son had an entirely different perspective on his dad’s investment of time.

When we read these verses in Psalm 145, a couple of things become immediately evident. First, the writer of this Psalm knew and understood how great and mighty God is and how worthy He is of our praise. In fact, he professed that there is no end to God’s greatness; it’s unsearchable! Second, the writer also understood the incredible importance of passing along this truth about God to the generation that follows so they, too, can declare His mighty acts!  

Unfortunately, few men grasp the need to pass on their respect and love for their awesome God to the next generation. Perhaps, like Charles Francis Adams looked at that fishing trip with his son, most would see such an investment in their children and grandchildren as a waste of time. But it’s all in how you look at it. My recent fishing trip with my sons and grandsons was unforgettable, and I wouldn’t trade anything for the memories we made. It was time (and money) well spent—worth all the investment. The same is true of passing on our stories of God’s greatness and faithfulness to the next generations. It is vitally important. Indeed, if Christian men took this investment seriously, it could literally alter the future course of our nation.

Men, whether you realize it or not, your life will have a tremendous impact on your children. The question is what kind of impact it will be. Charles Francis Adams was obviously clueless about the positive impact he had on his son, Brook. We need to ask the Lord for eyes to see just how great our influence is and how critical it is to lead our family to faith in the God of heaven. Believe me, I understand well the constant challenge of trying to prioritize life in such a way that family comes first. That struggle is real, and that’s why we have to be intentional and vigilant about it in our role as Chaplains.

Honestly, there’s little margin for error if we want to make a godly impression and form a lasting spiritual influence on our children and those we seek to mentor/disciple. It is so easy to blow up years of godly influence with a moment of bad judgment in what we say or do. But when we have those moments, we need to own them, confess them, ask our family for forgiveness and pledge to provide that godly example going forward. Always tell them: “Look, I am a sinner, I am going to disappoint you, but I want you to look beyond me to our Great God who is Holy and Mighty, who will never leave you nor forsake you.” Remind them: “God is faithful, and He never changes. He always keeps His promises, and His love never fails.” Declare God’s mighty acts to the next generation. Commend your Great God to those in your charge.

Christian musician Steve Green sang these inspiring words that I pray will describe men who stand courageous: “May all who come behind us find us faithful. May the fire of our devotion light their way. May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe, and the lives we live inspire them to obey.” Whether we realize it or not, future generations are counting on us. So, men, pass on the torch of faith so that the next generation and the one after that will know and serve our Mighty God!

  • As you assess the time you invest in your children and grandchildren, how much of it is spent cultivating a biblical worldview and passing on your stories of God’s greatness and faithfulness? What steps can you take to improve in that pursuit? 
  • When you blow it, and they see it, what is your game plan to redirect your children and grandchildren to a healthy respect and deep love for God? 
  • Ask God to help you take practical steps to leave a godly legacy by commending His works to the next generation and declaring His mighty acts.