In 1939 and again in 1964, Westinghouse buried some time capsules with some common and some rather odd contents: a deck of cards, a bikini, a Polaroid camera, a Bible, a Beatles record, a child’s Mickey Mouse cup, credit cards, a copy of the sci-fi magazine “Amazing Stories” in microfilm form, etc.
You can probably guess which items belonged in each capsule ~ but you’d be wrong if you put “Bible” in the 1939 capsule.
Would you have added these things in time capsules?
Time capsules are all about passing on information about today to someone in the future.
I recently saw a “Light Switch Time Capsule“ that got me thinking. The author of the post, Sean Michael Ragan, said, “I get nostalgic when I move out of a home, especially if it’s one I’ve lived in awhile. Leaving a secret treasure or two stashed here and there, seemed to help me get closure.” Instead of dropping a note in the wall (as some have done), Sean wrote a message on the back of a standard light switch plate.
The switch plate had a note on the back to tell all future home owners a little about the previous home owner’s history in the home. This particular person’s story was a little depressing, actually, as he described some of his personal choices. But there is something in each of our hearts that wants to pass on information to others about what we think is important, or information about how to deal with things in the future.
As a Christian woman, I want to leave a legacy; I want to be sure my family knows what I think is important (God, His Word, and serving the Lord) ~ but it will take a lot more than a simple light switch time capsule to pass on that information.
So where can I “leave” my legacy information (my time capsules*) to make a real difference?
First, I can leave a legacy in my history (or heritage). I can leave my children and grandchildren photos and family tree information, special recipes and keepsakes ~ sharing cultural traditions and some of the family history that made me the person I am, including my Christian heritage.
The Israelites left memorial stone altars for future generations. For example, they made a mound of stones after crossing the Jordan River on dry ground (Joshua 4:1-8), and later, when people asked the meaning of the stones, they talked about the faithfulness of God in caring for His people.
I’ve told my children about Christians in their background who ministered as preachers and missionaries and faithful servants of God in their churches. They need to know they have a godly heritage, and that they can trust in the Lord for their future (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Second, I can leave a legacy in the hearts of each of my children and grandchildren. I can write truth on their hearts. I can spend time getting to know the unique personalities and needs of each one, and perhaps tailoring some biblical information (or counsel, when asked) to help them deal with things in their lives or the future.
Proverbs 1:8 says, “Listen my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” This assumes that we are instructing and teaching.” We are to faithfully teach our children and grandchildren about the love and righteousness of God (Psalm 103:17-18).
Third, I can leave a legacy in my “handbook,” my copy of the Word of God. I want to leave them notes in my personal Bibles that they can read in the years to come, if they so choose.
Everything else ~ all material goods ~ will fall apart or whither away, but the Word of God will endure forever (Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35), and it is timeless and relevant for my family’s future needs and direction. I want them to understand that the scriptures “worked” for me. They comforted and counseled me in times of need, and they were a steady resource. The Word is alive and powerful! (Hebrews 4:12)
Fourth, I can leave a legacy in my home. I might write words of wisdom on items in my home, that they will read (and perhaps want) after I am gone. I think of the Israelites’ mezuzahs by their doorposts ~ small parchments inscribed with a short version of their Torah. It’s original purpose was to help the Jews remember the presence and commands of God (Deuteronomy 6:4-6, 9).
While I think it’s more important that God’s Word is inscribed on our hearts, it certainly can’t hurt to have home decorations that remind us of who God is and what He is doing in our lives. And these works of art ~ plaques, paintings, sculptures, etc. ~ can be passed down to our family members.
I will need to be proactive and intentional about all of this “leaving,” of course. In the busyness of life, I must make time to remember legacy or it won’t magically happen.
What do you do to pass on family traditions and the truth of the Word of God? Where else might I leave some legacy information?
* Just for fun:
At your next family reunion, create a time capsule of family memories. Ask each guest at the reunion to bring an object they feel represents their current interests or something about the culture at that time. Seal and wrap the time capsule, and save it for the next reunion!