This week I heard a John Adams quote on a podcast.
The quote was not about how to be a good president, or how to win a revolution, or how to form a nation. The quote was about how to be a good son, dad, grandfather, great grandfather, etc. He said, “The best time to start raising your child in the right way is about five generations before the child is born.”
This quote is remarkable because it teaches something that is very hard to learn. Our life is both brief and powerful. This is a hard lesson to learn because, when we are young we are good at believing our life can be powerful, but we don’t believe our life is brief. Then, when we are old we are good at believing our life is brief, but don’t believe our life is powerful. We also have a hard time believing anything that is brief can be powerful. But in the Bible book called James we are taught that life is brief (like a vapor) and life is powerful (the fervent effectual prayer of righteous person accomplishes much).
The fascinating thing to me is when we add the value of right and wrong to the brevity and power of life. Life is brief whether it is lived good or bad. Eighty or so years is not even a blip on the radar of eternity. Yet, since God has placed eternity in our hearts and breathed His breath into our human form, our words and actions, thoughts and attitudes, feelings and personalities, biology and chemistry have all been invoked with power to create lasting good in our world. God has given each of us the gift of giving and being a generational blessing to the generational age group we were born into, as well as the generations to come after us.
Though I don’t think anyone will be quoting these words 200 years from now, I do hope these words can educate and inspire us to run with perseverance in Jesus’ direction.