Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Legacy

For many people the person they become is due to a large part to the family background they have. Our families shape so much of who we are, for good or bad. The following is something I wrote as my family, the Steeles, celebrated my Grandma and my late Grandpa Steele for the influence they have been in our lives in June of 2006.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. ~ Hebrews 12:1; NLT

Legacy -- Something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past.

As I walk along my journey of faith I consider being born into the Steele family a great blessing. I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had been born into some other family who lived life differently because they held onto different foundational beliefs. Would I have come to know Jesus? Would I have given my life away to some lesser cause?

Thank God reality cannot be changed! I am who I am because Grandpa and Grandma Steele dedicated their lives to Jesus Christ. Their great legacy to us is faith in Jesus Christ. To them this was the most important factor of life.

I was fortunate and blessed (I think Tom and Rebecca would agree with me) to have lived in the same house with Grandpa and Grandma for a couple of years. We were able to witness firsthand on a daily basis the way faith in Jesus was a part of their lives. It was more than something they talked about, but it was something they lived. There was Grandpa’s Bible that was constantly open by his chair, putting aside other responsibilities so they could be at church whenever the doors were opened, their compassionate service to those in need, and Grandma’s letters to let us know she loved us.

To me this legacy has been one of the most important elements in my life. In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Samwise Gamgee said:

"I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. 'Cause sometimes you didn't want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How can the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing. A shadow even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folks in those stories had lots of chances in turning back only they didn't. They kept going because they were holding onto to something."

While walking the journey of faith there are points when we come to a crisis of belief. A crisis of belief is when we have to make the tough decision of whether or not we will move forward with Jesus or turn back and go our own way. Every time I have faced a crisis of belief and have considered doing my own thing I have thought about the people who have gone before me: my grandparents and parents. They had chances to turn back to, but they didn’t, and now their lives stand as a testimony of faith. It is this legacy that I hold onto when life becomes tough and the journey is uncertain.

This faith heritage handed down to us is a great gift. There have been times when I have taken it for granted, but it has always been there when I needed it. For that I say thank you to Grandpa and Grandma Steele. Your legacy of faith is the best gift you could have given to us and for that I am eternally grateful to you. I hope that I can carry on this legacy as well as you did.

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