Friday, May 11, 2012

The Hope of a Garden

{Hebrews 12:1; NLT}
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 trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

This morning I received word that my Grandpa Huff has joined the huge crowd of witnesses of  faith.  I am thankful that I was able to know this man and have him influence my life.

My Grandpa was a man of faith, and that will always be the defining characteristic that will remember about him. On this day, as I ponder his life, what do I think my Grandpa Huff would want me share about living a life of faith?

The first thing would be that a life of faith is an active life.  James wrote; So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless (James 2:17; NLT). Grandpa understood that true faith was more than just what you believed, but it was also about what you did.  He as involved in the local church, in various different ministries, and with the Boy Scouts.  Until his body began to give out on him Grandpa tried to be as active as he could in the mission of the Church.

A second aspect of faith I think my Grandpa would want me to share is humility.  I remember having a two or three conversations with Grandpa Huff, my brother, and I as we talked about the church and ministry related issues.  One of the things which stood out to me was his willingness to step aside and allow his preferences to be overlooked in order to reach new people.  This attitude requires humility because one has to be willing to lay aside their rights and their likes to do what is best for the Kingdom.  The apostle Paul wrote;
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being
(Philippians 2:5-7, NLT)
Following Jesus requires humility.

A third mark of faith would be taking time for people.  One of the best memories I have of my Grandpa Huff is that as I prepared to go to my first year of Boy Scout Camp I really wanted my Grandpa to go with me. He came up to Iowa from Kansas to spend a week with me at Boy Scout camp.  His willingness to do that meant a lot to me.  I am so thankful that even thought traveling was difficult for him that he made the trip to Austin for the wedding last summer.  Being a person of faith requires making time for people in the busy and hectic schedules we call life.

I am saddened my the passing of my Grandpa, but I also have hope.  During my time of reflecting on the life of my Grandpa Huff God gave me an image of Grandpa in his garden.  This image caused the tears that had been welling up in my eyes to come streaming down my cheeks.

My Heavenly Father is a Gardener.  When the earth was wild and untamed God parceled out a section of land, irrigated it with four rivers, and planted a garden.  God then created people to care for that garden, to be good stewards of what He had created. While we have not done a very good job at caring for creation, God has promised is that He will make all things new.

Grandpa Huff was a gardener and at the resurrection he will be placed in the glorious new heaven and new earth to act as a steward and a caretaker. As beautiful as his garden was it will be nothing compared to what it will be.  Even now I can picture him at work in the great magnificent garden God has prepared for him. Part of my hope is to work side by side with him in that wonderful place.

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