Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Leave a Legacy

I have been going through some of my old writings and I came across this pondering that I wrote eight years ago when Paul’s Ponderings was a weekly e-mail “devotion” that I sent to friends, family, and the youth I ministered to in Stronghurst, Illinois. It was eight years ago this week that I attended my Grandpa Steele’s funeral, and I thought this would be a good time reflect on the legacy he left behind.

“All of us have adults in our lives who have encouraged us, prayed for us, and helped us ‘live the life.’ We need to treat them with respect and thank God for the godly example they have been to us. Our generation so desperately needs role models worth following.” ~ Rebecca St. James, You’re The Voice: 40 More Days With God

Last week I attended the funeral of my Grandpa Steele. One of the themes that ran throughout the whole service was the Christian heritage that Grandpa left to his family. I am privileged to have had him as my grandpa and I have benefited from his faith.

Reflecting back on what I remember about my Grandpa Steele, two lessons come to mind. These are the lessons I believe he would want his family to remember and pass on to the ones they know.

The first lesson is be a person of the Word. Grandpa was a farmer, and that is what he did to make a living in this world. That was not, however, his entire identity. He was also an elder and Sunday School teacher at the Sutherland Church of Christ. Grandpa didn’t have a Christian College Degree like a few his sons and grandsons had, but he knew the Bible. He studied the Bible, he read the Bible, and he made it a part of his life. It was obvious to us as grandchildren that he did these things because of the open Bible that was constantly next to his chair.

This means we have to be reading the Bible. It is God’s Word to us so that we will have a firm foundation for life. If we want to live the life God created us to live then we must be in His Word, for it is what will guide us on the path of righteousness. Reflect on what the author of Hebrews wrote; For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are. (Hebrews 4:12; NLT)

The second lesson is the need to be part of the Church. It was mentioned over and over again, by family and friends, that every time the church doors were open Grandpa and Grandma were there. Church attendance was a fundamental part of their lives. My Grandparent’s involvement with the church went further than just going to services. It was found forming relationships with the people who were part of that local body of believers, inviting visitors home for coffee, helping with work that needed to be done, and praying for those in need. To Grandpa church was not so much something you attended, but it was something you to which you belonged.

We treat church as one of the many activities “good” Christians do. It is more than that. The Church is God’s design for His children on earth, and therefore the Church should be a family in which we have strong loving relationships with the other Christians. When Church becomes just an activity to attend we miss out of the wonderful blessing God intended the Church, His family, to be. The writer of Hebrews urged Christians to be in fellowship with one another:
Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25; NLT)

The two lessons that I want to pass on to you from my Grandpa’s life are (1) study the Bible and (2) be part of the Church. If we were more committed to doing these disciplines we would be better equipped to love God and to love our neighbors.

We all have people who have guided our lives and who influenced our faith. I am indeed thankful that not only do I have Christian parents who have richly blessed my life, but also two sets of Christian grandparents that have been role models for me for my life.

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