Summary: To pass on our legacy of faith to and through our children, we must Know God and Make Him Known to them.
1. OK City Survivor Tree
The most-sacred symbol in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a tree: a sprawling, shade-bearing, an old American elm. Tourists drive from miles around to see her. People pose for pictures beneath her. Arborists carefully protect her. She adorns posters and letterhead. Other trees grow larger, fuller—even greener. But not one is equally cherished. The city treasures the tree not because of her appearance, but her endurance.
She endured the Oklahoma City bombing. Before the bombing, the tree was important because it provided the only shade in the downtown parking lot. People would arrive early to work just to be able to park under the shade of the tree’s branches.
Timothy McVeigh parked his death-laden truck only yards from her. His malice killed 168 people, wounded 850, destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, and buried the tree in rubble. No one expected it to survive. No one, in fact, gave any thought to the dusty, branch-stripped tree.
But then she began to bud. Sprouts pressed through damaged bark; green leaves pushed away gray soot. Life resurrected from an acre of death. People noticed. The tree modeled the resilience the victims desired. So they gave the elm a name: the Survivor Tree.
Cuttings of the Survivor Tree are growing in nurseries all over Oklahoma. Owners of landscape nurseries, arborists, urban foresters and expert horticulturists from across the state and country have come together to work and preserve this piece of history. None of these people have ever charged the Memorial for their work. Each year, the Facilities and Grounds crew at the Memorial provides Bays and the nursery men hundreds of seeds. They plant the seeds and distribute the resulting saplings each year on the anniversary of the bombing. Today, thousands of Survivor Trees are growing in public and private places all over the United States. It has a lasting legacy in its off-spring.
2. Abraham planted a Tamarisk tree in Beersheba (Genesis 21.33) – Tamarisk symbolizes Abraham
Genesis 21.33 – 33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD, the Eternal God.
• God promised Abram the land of Canaan – in Beersheba, the city of God’s faithfulness, on edge of desert he planted a Tamarisk tree –
• He did not own land; would not shade him or Isaac – by faith he believed he would own the land and would bless his descendants
• Needs to be tended/watered
• No fruit, only shade
• Slowest growing tree
• Planted for future generations [not for selves but for Great-Grandchildren
• Bedouin families want Tamarisk trees and show off their flocks, wives and Tamarisk Trees
3. God Knew that Abram was far-thinking in his approach to life and would teach his children – Genesis 18.19 19 For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.
• So much of life is about the Now and the Me. We seek comfort, enjoyment, etc., but how much will we bless people in generations to come?
• Will you plant a Tamarisk tree today? Do anything that will bless others for generations down the road?
4. We have been discussing leaving a legacy in various arenas of our lives, the most important involves children. Psalm 128.1-6
I. Leave Your Legacy: Know God
A. God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply
1. Physical Children
2. Adopted Children (Abram and Eliezer)
3. Spiritual Children – Genesis 12.5 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people [souls] that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan.; Paul and Timothy
B. Relationship of Husbands and Wives – Ephesians 5.22-25
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
• “Wives submit”
• Wait! –
o Husbands – Head as Christ is head of the church – provider for the wife as when the firstborn becomes head of a family – not so much for privilege as responsibility
o Husbands, love wives – as Christ loves the church and gave himself for it
C. This is not the end in itself – Ephesians 6.4 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.