October 7, 2019|
Heritage Day is a holiday often missed in the shuffle of its competitors (i.e. Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc.). However, it is unique to each country that takes part in its celebration.
With having just recently celebrated South Africa’s Heritage Day on September 24th, it prompts the question, “What does heritage actually mean to us?”
Although each country’s answer will be different, heritage— in general— refers to the passing along of something that has value. It is closely tied to the word inheritance, which may involve tangible property or a certain quality/characteristic.
What is interesting to note about inheritance is that it is something that can’t be earned. To inherit something means to be given something, and is not because of anything a person did or didn’t do. It is not a gift that results from doing, but simply a gift that results from being.
South Africans have a beautiful heritage of diversity and a blend of colorful cultures. However, this heritage also involves the hard parts of their history, such as the lingering effects of apartheid (government-sanctioned racial segregation). Their inheritance is therefore bittersweet, as is with most inheritances here on this planet. Sweet in the sense of receiving the gift of diversity and now national liberation; bitter in the sense of receiving also the negative consequences of the decisions of their ancestors.
However, there is an inheritance that is altogether different, altogether lovely that is given to us who are followers of Jesus.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”1 Peter 1:3-5
In this passage, we see that it is God who caused us to be born again to the inheritance—not ourselves. We didn’t earn it. It is not passed onto us from a dead ancestor, but from someone who has died and risen again─ a “living hope.” And this inheritance is not bittersweet, but fully and satisfyingly sweet. It is imperishable, undefiled, unfading. It is something we can’t lose, because it is being kept in heaven specifically for us. Not only that, but our salvation is being guarded by God Himself so that we may attain the inheritance at the end of life on earth.
How encouraging and hopeful is this passage! Whatever our heritage or family history, wherever we come from, no matter how bitter is our earthly inheritance, we have a living hope found only in Jesus Christ. We inherit HIM. He is our inheritance, our sweetest prize, here and now and even more fully in the life to come.
So whatever you find yourself enjoying on your country’s respective Heritage Day, remember the greater inheritance that might be yours if you know and love Jesus. The inheritance of Him, the “living hope.”