The aging house hadn’t been painted in 10 or 15 years. The once-bright walls had long since faded, and weathered stains under the windows were like dark circles under its eyes after a sleepless night. Years of neglect had taken their toll.
This home didn’t belong to me, but I was tasked with the job of repainting. It was a blissfully mindless chore for me. I’d wander over after work each day and spend a few hours on the ladder before sunset. Spreading rich layers of creamy fresh enamel over that faded siding never got old. Years of weathering and distress were erased with each passing day. But there was one thing that even the most beautiful paint couldn’t hide: old drips.
There were old, dried-up paint drips everywhere. Whoever painted the house in the past left droves of these unsightly globs for me to deal with — each one needing to be cut or sanded off. If I just painted over them, they’d look like “my drips.” In other words, there would be no way to tell if each drip was a careless mistake by the previous painter or by me. I had inherited a legacy of old drips.
When we look at Scripture, there are many characters who made careless mistakes. Some of their mistakes were like old drips – highly visible blunders left for future generations to deal with. We need to look no further than Adam and Eve as examples.
Paul had this in mind when he told Timothy, “Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:13-14).
As Christians, God has given us the important responsibility to be “good painters.” He has entrusted us not to leave behind the “drips” of unbiblical lifestyles or teachings. We are to faithfully pass on a lasting legacy of righteousness and truth. Through our lives and words, we should set the example of what it looks like to passionately follow Christ, stand in awe of an extraordinary God, and maintain a hope that goes far beyond anything this world can offer.
No one wants to leave a legacy of old drips. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “A righteous man is one who lives for the next generation.”
– Ron Reid
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