Last week, I went to my parents' house and loaded the back of my car with the dining room table and chairs that had belonged to my grandmother. There's still a sideboard and hutch to come, but we thought it was a miracle to get a full-size table and six chairs packed all around me for the five-hour drive home. An afternoon in the car, driving over the mountain with your grandmother's furniture creaking and shifting, gives a woman time to think about her heritage.
I asked for my grandmother's table because I vividly remember all the years of our family around it. The meals we ate and the games we played. The mess she always made in the kitchen. Her alto singing that plays in the background of every memory I have of her. But mostly, I remembered the great joy of being at my grandmother's house. While I was driving home, I decided that I wanted to pass the joy of being around her table to the next generation.
Maybe some would argue with this thought, but I believe the most powerful gift I can give to the next generation is a true and vibrant joy in the Lord.
Joy. Even more than academics. Even more than experiences or inheritance. People who possess real and abiding joy will live powerfully and for the glory of God—no matter their purpose, calling, or path. From generation to generation, I long to leave the legacy of joy.
What if we allow ourselves to be transformed by the joy promised through the indwelling Holy Spirit? And then what if we intentionally teach our children, through spirit and deed, what it feels like to live a life full of joy? Could there be any great gift to leave for the next generation? I think not.1