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How to Bless your Children After you Die

God only knows how many days I have left and then my children and their children will live on and no matter what I do, the plain truth is, I won’t be there to help them. This is a scary thought for any father who loves his family.

And so I was deeply struck by a statement made in an interview by Randy Pausch, the famous terminally ill professor who gave “The Last Lecture”. When Randy was asked about his family he perfectly expressed the true heart of a father faced with his own mortality –

“The really strong emotions are, they won’t have me for them…I mean, the metaphor I’ve used is… somebody’s going to push my family off a cliff pretty soon, and I won’t be there to catch them. And that breaks my heart. But I have some time to sew some nets to cushion the fall. So, I can curl up in a ball and cry, or I can get to work on the nets.” (Statement starts at 3:10 Click here to view).

But how do you build these nets? Far from being something to consider after being handed a death sentence, I believe building these nets is the primary responsibility of every father, because we are all dying, and our family needs our best efforts now while we are still strong.

So let’s be realistic for a minute. How can you actually build nets that aren’t going to be torn down? Someone can agree to help your family but when are they going to die, or get distracted, or lose their power to help? Where can we find that perfect life insurance policy that is guaranteed to take care of our family? There is only one way you can be sure your family will be protected and blessed after you die. You have to receive a promise from an undying being of absolute power who keeps his word forever. If such a thing exists it should be the obsessive goal of every wise father to do anything they can, to invest all the days of their life in pursuit of securing that promise.

And so one of the first narratives in all of Scripture describes how one father received such a promise. God gave to Abraham a promise of blessing that he could pass on to his children and his children’s children throughout all the generations his family persevered on the earth (Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 15 & 17). And if you study how Abraham captured God’s heart it was through a lifelong practice of reckless faith (Hebrews 11:8-12). Act after act that would appear to outsiders as irresponsible for a loving father. His unquestioning trust in God and the beautiful friendship he built with the Most High brought these covenant promises into his family and they persist to this day.

But what about us? Are there any modern day examples of family blessings?

On January 8, 1956 Nate Saint along with four friends were killed in an act of great faith, trying to bring the Gospel to the violent Waodani people during Operation Auca deep within the rainforest of Ecuador. Many people would look at that decision as disastrous because these five men left young families with no one to protect them, no nets, but anyone who thinks this way does not know the heart of God who is “the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14).

Skip forward 56 years and Nate Saint’s son Steve, who has dedicated his life to aviation in missions work, just like his father, does something that billions of dollars in the aviation industry and billions of dollars in the automotive industry have been unable to do. Steve Saint invents the first viable flying car.

Check out this short video about Steve’s remarkable invention.

Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” (the only statement of Jesus outside the crucifixion account found in all four gospels). And I’d add, if you want God to bless your family, if you want nets that will last, offer up your entire life in reckless faith, in total trust, and God will not only build nets for your family, but engines to propel your family forward. And so if you die a little bit earlier, your family will still be more safe under God’s protection than under yours. For the Scriptures declare that God is “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.” (Psalm 68:5).

And if death does come we know that “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” – (Psalm 116:15). And I would add in this case “the death of his Saint”.

(To buy a print of the Father Abraham portrait go here)