Tony Evans - The Legacy of a Man
Every responsible man here ought to have a will. If you are a man and you have a family, you ought to protect their future. And that comes through having a will. A will is a legal document that says that what you have accumulated in your life, this is how you want it passed on to those that you leave behind. You see, to create a will is saying you are future-minded. You won't always be here. So, you're going to be thinking about tomorrow today in your financial or asset planning.
Unfortunately, what many do not understand is that there are not only wills of physical assets, there are wills of spiritual assets, what you pass on generationally that has spiritual value attached to it. And unfortunately, many men who don't even bother to pass on physical assets refuse to pass on spiritual assets, one or both, because they're not future-minded. And as a result of not being future minded, there is chaos in the future because there was not clarity set forth in the present. The Bible has a lot to say about legacy, about what is passed on to the next generation and beyond.
In fact, Proverbs chapter 13, verse 22 says, "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children". Translation, a bad man leaves no inheritance to his children's children. So, if there is no future planning, you cannot be dubbed a good man. Because a good man is not only thinking about what's happening with him today, but what will happen on a three generational level. He's concerned about today, he's concerned about his children, and then he's concerned about his children's children, his grandchildren. So, a man who's not three generationally minded God says is not a good man because he's not thinking long term. He may only be thinking about today, as though tomorrow will never come.
In Judges chapter 2, verse 10, it says that there grew up a generation who did not know Joseph, who did not know his God, and as a result chaos ensued. And when you read the book of Judges, you have a culture in perpetual chaos because there was a transfer of the spiritual baton that did not occur. In fact, the book of Judges says, "And every man did that which was right in his own eyes because there was no king in those days". There was no standard that had been passed on.
Today, we live in a day of societal chaos. That chaos can be rooted back to men who refuse to build a spiritual legacy, men who refuse to man up to God's requirement for biblical manhood. And like it or not, God starts with holding the man responsible for how the legacy works out or does not. And so, we're introduced in this passage of Scripture to a man, named Asher.
Let me tell you a little bit about Asher. Verse 30 says, "Asher had four sons and one daughter". Asher was the father of five children. And when we end the story of Asher, as you'll see, he comes out pretty good. But he didn't start that way. You see, Asher is the seventh son of Jacob. He is the first son of Zilpah, the seventh son of Jacob. If he's the seventh son of Jacob, that means he's been raised in a dysfunctional family. 'Cause as far as Jacob's family was concerned, papa was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home. Because Jacob had 12 kids by 4 different women. Jacob created chaos in his family. Asher, the seventh son of Jacob, participated with his brothers in putting Joseph into the pit.
So, he was part of the conniving group of siblings that wanted to ruin their brother's life. His daddy, Jacob, was known as the trickster or deceiver. He knew how to game. And so, he played games all of his life, and that rolled over to his children. So, Jacob the patriarch created havoc in his family due to his deception, it rubbed off on his boys, his boys destroyed or tried to destroy one of their brothers. They weren't raised in a good, healthy home environment. It wasn't the kind of environment that would have been inducive to an orderly family structure.
There are men here, and since he had a daughter, there are women here who have been raised in dysfunctional families. Your papa was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home. Or you grew up without a father, or he might as well not been there as a father. And there was all kinds of dysfunction in the family that you grew up with. Perhaps there are siblings now you cannot relate to because of the chaos in your home.
Well, before you ever get to 1 Chronicles chapter 7, that's Asher. That's his history and his background. It's not a pretty one. It's not one to be proud of. But somewhere along the line, there was a transformation that occurred in the life of Asher. Because when we read about him here in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, we're going to give you some good news.
So, the good news that I want to give all of us here today, especially the men, but the principle applies to all of us is that your past doesn't have to determine your future. That no matter how messed up your yesterday was does not have to control what your tomorrow will be like. That you have an option to change your legacy. And that the legacy bequeathed to you does not have to be the legacy you dispense to others, whether it is your immediate family, whether it's your siblings or those who come under your influence. Such is the case with the change and transformation that took place in the life of Asher.
Well, let's go to verse 40 because we'll see four things of Asher's impact and his legacy that ought to be true of every man and every head of household who is here. "All these," verse 40 says, "were the sons of Asher, heads of the father's houses". Heads of the father's houses. His four boys became heads of houses. They became leaders in their family. Head of a house is a leader of a home. Whatever Asher did when he got right so influence his four boys that they were able to take up responsible reigns in their own families.
Let's review what it means to be a head. The Bible teaches that the man is to be the head. That means the man is the one responsible. That's not just saying you're the boss, it says you're responsible. It says that his sons became heads of households, that is leaders within their home, that is they were willing to own the responsibility for the family. The government's not supposed to raise your children, the neighborhood is not supposed to raise your children. The father in the Bible raises the children, Ephesians 6:4. "Fathers, raise your children". The man has to own it. He raised his sons to be leaders, to be responsible.
Headship is responsibility. Headship also involves direction. It involves direction, whether it's a president or the head of a company, the head of a church or whatever. Headship means you are casting a direction so that people know which way we're going. If you're lost and you got folk following you, they're going to be loster. Since they don't know where you're going, they're either going to follow you nowhere. Or decide they don't want to go nowhere, they'd rather go somewhere, so they create their own vision.
To be a head means that I want to be in close proximity with God so that God can speak to me by his Holy Spirit and give me direction so that those following me will have a place to go. And if you do not have a divine perspective, all you see is what you see, which means you won't see all there is to be seen. That if you're going to be God's head of household and raise the boys to be head of households, a biblical headship is a responsibility that you take on, that you own because you have been placed there.
We live in a day of male abandonment, where men are increasingly refusing to own it. Maybe it's because your father didn't own it. Maybe it's because your mother was domineering. Maybe it's because of negative influences in the culture. Whatever the reason is, it's time to come back home to God. Asher turned that thing around. And whatever caused him to turn it around, because we know the boys got right at the end, whatever caused him to turn it around, so Asher recovered in some way and he raised his sons to be heads of households with fire and vision.
If you're going to be the head, you just can't see the acorn, you got to look at the oak. You got to see bigger than what is, yeah? Things are not looking good, but me and God got to get together and we got to find out how he wants us to fix this, correct this, straighten this, reorient this. Why? 'Cause you just said you the man. You said you the man. Well, if you the man, you got to man up in a responsible, biblical way.
The second thing we find out about Asher's sons is he calls them choice men. Choice men, that means cream of the crop, choice men. They weren't run of the mill guys. Somehow in this turnaround, he said, "My boys are not going to be like everybody else's sons. My boys are not going to just run with the crowd. I'm going to raise up some excellent, choice, cream of the crop boys with one daughter. I'm going to raise them up to be the men that God has created them to be".
Now, we know we have many single parents and you have been given a double duty. We value you, we appreciate you. But we can never allow that to get men off the hook for the fathers that they sire that they now have abandoned. If they're not paying their bills, take them to court. They still have a responsibility to the kids. You didn't get pregnant by yourself. And so, he wanted to raise them to expose your kids, especially your boys, to men of high standards if they don't have one in the home, men who will lead them in the right way. Not perfect men, but men who are moving right, who are not mediocre.
We got a generation of young people today whose consciences don't beep. That's cause nobody set on. It is the head of the household's job to set the conscience. So, there must be established the divine standard and walking them through the struggles of that. But you don't change the standard, you administer the standard with love and with compassion. There are two extremes out here. One is to be so compassionate, there is no standard. The other extreme is to have the standard without showing compassion. And the idea is to compassionately move to meet the standard.
The third thing it says about Asher's sons he speaks in particularly of, he says they were mighty men in verse 40. Mighty men. They were raised to be warriors, mighty men. Not mediocre men, these are some mighty dudes. They were raised to be warriors. See, you have to understand we're in spiritual warfare here. We're in a war. You now have to fight for your kids. You have to go to war. Well, right now, you and I live in a post-Christian era. It's called postmodernism, where the absolute standards of right and wrong no longer apply.
So, people are making up their own rules as they go along of what's right and wrong. So, you better not just send them out to play with anybody. You do have to watch what they're being taught in school. They used to be taught creation as an option. Now in many schools, they're taught only evolution as a fact. So, unless you watch that, unless you patrol that, unless we look into that, then they will be confused and convoluted when they emerge into adolescence and adulthood. And the thing about it today is they're getting that way earlier.
So, Nehemiah 4:14 says, "Okay, he says you're going to be a warrior. Fight for your family". Fight for your kids, fight for the future. Wage spiritual warfare. You take them before the throne of grace. You take them, you have devotions with them, you pray over them. Go to war because the devil is going to war. He says he raised his sons to be warriors, to fight for that which was right. And then he says, fourthly, he raised them to be mentors because he says, "Heads of the princesses". He raised them to be mentors.
You see, a prince is a king in waiting. He says they were heads of princesses. They were raising future kings. Many a young man has been spiritually castrated because he's not been given a sense of his royal standing in the family, and most importantly with the Lord. They've been duped and ripped because there's no godly male figure who loves God, who loves them, who gives them a biblical worldview, and who spiritually imparts to them so that they take all of God into all of life, into all of their world. God can change your yesterday no matter how messed up it is and give you a different tomorrow.
I know your daddy wasn't there or he was a bad daddy that was there. I know you've had bad experiences and you've had sins and rebellion. I know all that, but then all you are is just give yourself a name, call yourself Asher 'cause you've got some dysfunction in your history. But the good news is he shows up in chapter 7 of 1 Chronicles a brand new man. So, your yesterday doesn't have to control your tomorrow. Because look at how this thing closes. It says at the end of verse 40, "And the number of them enrolled by genealogy for service in war was 26.000 men".
Well, wait a minute now, we started off with one man, four sons, and one daughter. But by the time this man got through, he got 26.000 in his legacy that are ready to go to war. See, you just can't be thinking about you. You got to be thinking about the generations behind you, and you got to build yourself an army, an army of men and women. That meant women were in it because more boys were being born. And so, you got to build yourself an army. The problem is Satan has been building his army while God's army has been shrinking.
So, we got to build an army, 26.000 men. There was a little pigmy one day standing over a rhinoceros. He had killed the rhinoceros. A friend looked at him and said, "Did you kill that rhinoceros"? The little pigmy said, "Yeah, I killed the rhinoceros". The man said, "How'd you kill that rhinoceros? You just this big". Oh, he says, "Oh, it's simple, I killed it with my club". "You killed that rhinoceros with your club"? "Absolutely". The man said, "How big is your club"? The pigmy said, "Oh, I got 100 dudes in my club".
See, you got to have a club. You got to have a bunch of folk who take a stand with God and with one another. So, what God is looking for are men who want to recover, men who want to get back the dignity that God created you with, who want to fulfill the role that God has given you. In Super Bowl 43, when Santonio Holmes caught the pass that won the Super Bowl, don't forget one minute earlier, he had dropped the ball. Ben Roethlisberger threw him the ball and he dropped it. But then Ben Roethlisberger called him back and said, "I'm going to throw it to you again, and this time don't drop it".
So, if you dropped it yesterday, you got kids you don't live with, kids you sired that you don't talk to, grandkids that you don't know, okay, you dropped the ball, but God's ready to throw you another pass. And now you got to be willing to catch the ball and move from here. You say, "But I wonder whether it's too late". Well, no, it can't be too late 'cause in Hebrews chapter 11, verse 21, it says that Jacob, even with his grandchildren, recovered because he blessed his grandchildren while he leaned on his staff just before he died. So, if it's too late with your kids, get your grandkids so that you reach them and impact them for time and eternity.
A father went to his son one day and he said, "Boy, you've been a great boy. I'm proud of you, and I want to do anything you want me to do for you. What do you want"? The boy thought for a moment, he said, "Daddy, here's what I want. I want you to take me to the zoo. I want to go to the zoo". He said, "You want to go to the zoo"? "Yeah, daddy, that's what I really want to do". He says, "Okay, let's go to the zoo". He said, "Dad, can I bring a few friends"? Dad said, "That's fine". He came back with ten friends. "Ten guys"? He said, "Yeah, dad, these are all my buddies. Take us all to the zoo".
So, he put him in the van and they all went to the zoo. For two hours, they went around looking at all the cages and the birds and the reptiles and all of that. They had a fun time at the zoo. It's time now to leave the zoo. On their way out the zoo, the little boy looks up and he says, "Daddy, daddy"! "What, son"? "They're giving elephant rides". Sure enough, over to the side was an elephant man giving rides on his elephant. He said, "Daddy, please for a ride. I want to ride on the elephant". He said, "Well, you know, it's hot out here, we've been out here a long time". He says, "Please, please, please, please, please, daddy. Please daddy, please daddy, let me ride the elephant". He says, "Okay, let me see how much this costs".
He went over to the guy and he says, "How much for an elephant ride"? "Oh," he says, "it's $20 a ride". Father said, "Let's go. Time is up, we got to go". The boy said, "Oh daddy, please, please, please, please, please. I really want to ride the elephant". He said, "I know you want to ride the elephant, son, but it's $20 a ride, there's 10 of you, it's $200. That's too much money to ride the elephant, so we got to go". "Daddy, I don't think you understand. Look daddy, it's an elephant". "I know it's an elephant, son, but it's $20 a ride elephant, and that's just too much money". "Daddy, I don't think you're paying attention. Look at that, daddy. Look at that, daddy, it's an elephant". "I know it's an elephant, but it costs too much to ride the elephant". "Daddy, I don't think you're listening to me and I don't think you're looking. Look, daddy, it's an elephant".
Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, this problem is so big, don't look about the cost of your time, don't think about the cost of your energy. This problem is so big, we need some men who are willing to pay the price in order for the next generation to get right.
Legacy is a big deal because that has to do with the generational transfer of things of value. Men, we cannot only be concerned about ourselves, but our legacy, what we're leaving to the next generation and the generation after that and the generation after that. And while we tend to limit that to material things, houses, money, land, stocks, that has its place, but you need to leave them character and value and integrity and decency. You need to leave them something to be proud of in terms of how they live their lives based on the influence and tradition that was transferred to them, which means that you must leave a legacy of a vibrant faith.
That's the key to legacy. And the good news is you can change your legacy. Even if the legacy is flawed, there were flawed legacies in the Bible, we've seen God turn them around when the men got straight with God. So, think now in terms of not just your children, but your children's children because the Bible is clear that a good man leaves an inheritance, a legacy to his children's children. So, build generational impact, men, because the future generations are depending on us.