I don't know if it's because I'm so addicted to researching the family tree or what, but I've been thinking a lot about the effect other people have on our lives and vice versa. Last Sunday, we were visiting my parents and went to their church on Sunday. My dad preached about Joseph being a foster father to Jesus and how he was a great influence. We always put the focus on Mary when thinking of Jesus's parents, but in reality God also chose Joseph to be Jesus's earthly father for a reason. While my dad was preaching, he mentioned how nice it would be to be the parent of a perfect child. And Mom leaned over and said, 'Yeah, but can you imagine being a parent with a sinful nature to a perfect child?' I haven't been able to stop thinking about that. I act ridiculous at times when things aren't going my way. When my pride gets hurt, the real me comes out. What a huge responsibility Joseph and Mary had to keep their own actions and reactions in check. As parents, our influence over our children affects them the most. And I have been challenged to walk in the Spirit so that I do not give in to my flesh. My children are watching closely.
Then, today I was reading in 2 Chronicles 26 about King Uzziah. He was pretty amazing - becoming king at age 16 and completely rebuilding the Southern Kingdom of Israel (which his father had let fall to pieces) and building up quite a large army to protect it. He was amazing only because he lived according to God's will for his life. Things went great, he was prosperous. He reigned for 52 years and became a strong man....and then, he became proud. Pride is so sneaky. We start out with nothing because that's really what we are without God. We're so dependent upon God because without Him we can do nothing. Things just seem to flow, and everything goes fine and then, somewhere along the way, we forget where we came from. We get a distorted view of ourselves and forget Who brought us to where we are. And then, we wonder why things seem to be falling apart. Uzziah did that. After so much success, he forgot God. He became self-sufficient. He even went so far as to break the 'law' and went into the holy place where only the priests were allowed to go. This shocked the priests (all 81 of them) and they confronted him, but he was too big for his britches and would not listen. He got angry. And God immediately struck him with leprosy...on his forehead. (I love how the Bible is so specific.) This man who had been a hero to the kingdom, and had done great things because of his dependence on God ended up alone with a disease that ultimately killed him. And do you know how he was remembered? They said 'He was a leper.' 52 great years of dependence upon God and because of pride and self-sufficiency, he died alone from leprosy. This is a challenge to me to live in total dependence on God and to teach my children to do the same. I really believe that is the greatest legacy I could leave them.