A Generational Blessing
The entourage of family and friends gathered in the international departures terminal signaled that something epic was happening. But, my six-year-old mind was blissfully unaware of the anticipation mixed with apprehension in the group surrounding my family of five. Well-wishers with tear-filled eyes administered bone-crushing hugs meant to last four years until our return. While others were forcing brave smiles and whispered good-byes past trembling lips, all I really wanted to do was board the airplane waiting at the end of the jet bridge!
The suffocating heat blanketing the passengers when the aircraft’s cabin door was opened upon arrival and the armed military presence forming the welcoming committee was a sure sign that a grand adventure was about to unfold. But, in that moment, I had no idea that the ripple effect from this experience of a lifetime was going to shape everything about who I am today.
It was April 1979 and my earliest memory of following the will of God wherever and whenever He chooses. Our family had arrived in Pakistan for our first term as missionaries. There, in an Islamic nation, the progression of passing a legacy of service in the kingdom of God from one generation to the next began for me.
Missions taught me what it meant to “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) for surely we had landed in the “uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8)! I witnessed the love of God transcending culture, language, and traditional religious barriers. “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) became real to me in the face of a military coup, riots, earthquakes, and a plethora of other dangers.
I learned to cherish the Word of God as they do in humble, mud-constructed homes where the only family Bible is carefully wrapped and set in a place of honor on a shelf high above the meagre one-room dwelling. The expressions of complete joy on the faces of a dozen children taking turns using a simple stick to propel an old bicycle tire through dusty village streets taught me that earthly possessions are not a prerequisite for happiness. I discovered my desire to worship God was not predicated on circumstances or conditions as I listened to enthusiastic singing, earnest prayer, and passionate preaching in a church with no chairs, no walls, and no electricity.
My parent’s passionate pursuit of God’s purpose created the environment where I first recognized and obeyed the voice of God. Their altar of sacrifice and service had become my place of blessing and consecration.
The Bible teaches us to be intentional about keeping the flow of God’s blessing working through our families. Throughout Scripture a generational blessing influenced someone’s destiny when the hand of God was in it. The primary spiritual connotation of a blessing is to empower to prosper. If you bless your children, you empower them through the Spirit of God to prosper in every area of their life. This is the kind of blessing that God declared on people of faith. Through the spoken word and the laying on of hands, the elder would transfer the blessing to the next generation.
Here are a few biblical examples that demonstrate generational blessing:
- God said to Abraham, “I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you” (Genesis 17:7, NLT). In Psalm 105:8, we read that God stands by his covenant “to a thousand generations.” (Read also Psalm 100:5.)
- In Psalm 115:12-14, we understand God’s desire for blessings to be generational. “The Lord hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great. The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children.”
- Isaiah 44:3 states, “I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants” (NIV). (Read also Isaiah 61:9; Acts 2:17-18, 39.)
- Paul said to Timothy, “When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (II Timothy 1:5, NKJV).
- Ruth was so influenced by the faith of her mother-in-law, Naomi, that she said, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” (Ruth 1:16, NLT).
You can choose today to build a spiritual foundation for your family that will produce and become a legacy of righteousness because blessings are generational!
More than thirty-five years ago, my parent’s decision to answer God’s call to a foreign land left an impression so deep in my heart that it has defined my life. As a result of their godly influence, being on mission from Jesus Christ is part of the fabric of my soul. It’s what motivates me. It’s what captivates me. I am marked by the Apostolic legacy of my parents and the generations before them who have walked in truth. I find strength from their prayers; I find courage from their example; and I find faith from their journey.
Julie Long is a writer who would rather read; a speaker who would rather listen; a determined mother of two by day; and a graphic and web designer by night. She shares a joyful life with her husband, Peter, in New Brunswick, Canada, where they pastor the Pentecostals of Miramichi. She serves as the Atlantic District Ladies Ministries president.