Our Debt to the Past

I gave you a land on which you did not toil
and cities you did not build.
           —Joshua 24:13

Raucous British voices trash-talked those who had led their past, provoking Sir Winston Churchill to say, “If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.”

Moses reminded Israel that they would enjoy “flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant” (Dt 6:10–11).

We in the church are recipients of the devotion and sacrifice of those who have gone before. Sometimes, change is warranted, but we should never take lightly the blessings of our heritage.

Those who come after us will be recipients of our labor and sacrifice. Naturally, we hope they will treat our memory with gratitude and kindness.

Think carefully before you demolish.

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