The Surprising Legacy of Jeremiah the Prophet

The Surprising Legacy of Jeremiah the Prophet

by Bill High

I have to be honest. I’d read it before—Jeremiah 16—but I’d never really let it sink in.

I talk a lot about family legacy. I teach it. And I believe it’s a big deal. But not everyone gets married.

Some people are single for life—by choice or not. So, I try to be careful when I talk about legacy and to be sure to include singles, but sometimes I can tell they don’t really believe me. After all, in our culture we tend to make marriage the destination and singleness just part of the journey.

But back to Jeremiah 16: The word of the Lord came to me: You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place. (16.1-2)

 And God goes still further with Jeremiah. He tells him to not “enter the house of mourning, or go to lament or grieve for them….” and also not to “go into the house of feasting to sit with them to eat or drink.” (16.5, 8)

Consider Jeremiah’s life. He was to remain single and not have children. Hard to do, particularly in a culture that considered children a sign of blessing and wealth. And not only was he to remain single but he wasn’t supposed to go to funerals or weddings. He wasn’t to be part of the community of sorrow or joy—both critical components of what it means to live with others.

In fact, Jeremiah’s life work might be summed up as preaching a message to a people who would not listen. They never repented. They never turned back.

No family. No children. No community. No receptivity to his message. No legacy?

To the contrary, even without those things and even without family, Jeremiah’s message—his legacy—endures to this day in the best-selling book of all time. It’s a spiritual legacy. His legacy will be no less vibrant than those with a spouse or children.

Indeed, our legacy is defined by faithfulness, and all of us can live out that big idea.



Photo by Philippe Mignot on Unsplash

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Published October 25, 2019

Topics: A Life of Faith | Family Legacy

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