Last weekend I said goodbye to my last grandparent.
That generation and their influence coming to a close. It'a a generation that saw more change than I could ever imagine. They started life in one world and ended it in a completely different kind of world. It was a generation that grew up in the depression, who lived and served in World War II. A generation that saw life expectancy increase by almost 20 years from the time they were born til now. It was a generation that saw space travel become a reality and knew what life was like before television and cell phones. A generation without internet and facebook and $5 coffee drinks. A generation quite different from my own.
As that generation comes to an end in my life, I can't help but think about the legacy that they have left behind.
The dictionary defines legacy as something such as property or money that is received from someone who has died.
The thing about property or money though is that eventually... someday... both will be gone.
As I think about legacy, I'm thankful for 4 grandparents who loved the Lord, valued the sacredness of marriage and lived exemplifying both of those. Four grandparents who invested in their families, served in their churches, and worked hard in life. Four grandparents who left behind a legacy with family... with friends... with many over the years that they came to know. The kind of legacy I hope to leave behind...
The king of legacy that impacts eternity...
Virginia Black - September 10, 2016
Over the last few weeks, knowing that this time was soon coming, I’ve gone through lots of memories of my grandma. As I’ve thought back over the last 34 years and my time with her… it was surprising to realize that I don’t have many memories that I can recall of just my grandma. I can recall conversations with her and things that happened after my grandpa was gone but for the most part, in my mind, it was always grandpa and grandma. Now some of that was I’m sure because they are memories from a childhood perspective and some of it is was probably because my mom's side was just grandma and my dad's was grandpa and grandma. But in my mind it is the two of them. Always together.
And the memories are good.
I remember Family Christmas vacations at Frankenmuth, sleepovers at their house, the candy tin with the little pink candies that was always in their car, and trinket gifts for all the fun holidays... Of course that was all grandma’s doing and grandpa just went along with it. I remember Christmases spent together, dinners out, visiting them at camp and them being at my family’s boat. I can picture going to their house Grandpa would always be in his chair and Grandma would not sit down until you had agreed to have something to eat or drink. I remember escaping the winter in Michigan to go and visit them in South Carolina. And of course it wouldn’t be a good conversation about memories without mentioning the infamous family cruise in which Grandpa decided to get life-flighted back to the US and take grandma with him. I remember stories and conversations with them about all kinds of things...
Grandpa and Grandma.
I think that the real reason that I don’t separate the two though is because their legacy can’t be separated.
My memories are of events, conversations, and things. Over time the memories fade and the stories change. But the thing I am struck with is that their legacy never will. When I think about the life of both my grandfather and my grandmother I see two people who loved the Lord and served Him. And all I have to do is look around this room to see their legacy… being carried out in multiple generation. My grandmother and grandfather put their faith in Jesus Christ, believing that He died on the cross so that their sins could be forgiven. And they lived like they believed it. They taught their children that. Who then taught their children. Who are now teaching their children.
In the book of proverbs in the Bible there are some words of wisdom that say... A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children (Proverbs 13:22)
While some might say this refers to money (and it might be some words of wisdom in regards to that), I believe that more than money, what this verse is talking about is a spiritual inheritance. The knowledge of our Savior and the truth that is in God’s word.
My dad shared a story with us last night.
Back in the early 1930’s when my grandma was a young girl she was with some of her sisters and her grandfather at a local campground beach. Enjoying the summer day and the special time at the beach, she was playing in the water with her sisters when she looked down to find a $10 bill floating in the waves. Now $10 at that time would be comparable to finding a $50 bill floating in the water today. I’d would most definitely be excited about that. A child would be ecstatic. My grandma as you can image was. It was hard times and $10 was a big deal. Having shown it to her grandfather, they decided to take it to the local camp store and see if anyone had lost it. The man in the store, grateful for their honesty, said if no one claimed it, then the next time she came back it would be her’s. I don’t know about you but I imagine a little girl going back home and wondering and waiting and so excited to go back and see if the money was still there. As it turned out she went back there then next week and the money was hers.
It’s a story I have heard her share before... A story that my grandma, in the last few years, had once again shared with my dad.
Last night my dad was walking his aunt (my grandma’s sister) out to her car. Wouldn’t you know that right there on the ground was a $10 bill.
Now... my first thought was come on grandma... If $10 was a big deal back then shouldn’t it be more like a $50 or $100 today??
In all seriousness though, do I think my grandma left that $10 bill behind? Well... I don’t know how things like that work up there. The Bible tells us to be absent from the body is to be present with God. And because my grandmother put her faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of her sins right now she is with our Savior.
What I do know is that our Savior who she is in the presence of right now, well... He cares enough about each and everyone of us to orchestrate a moment just like that.
More than any memory or monetary inheritance that they could have ever left behind, my grandparents and their investment... their legacy... have left us with the knowledge of our Savior and what he did for us.
And that's a legacy worth leaving behind.