April 27 Devotional
Late last week, my grandmother went home to be with the Lord. It is something that has really gotten me to think about the legacies that we leave behind in this life. As Christians, which she was, we know that there is something better waiting for us after this life ends. This is the message of hope of eternal life because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He died in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. Then He rose from the grave, conquering sin and death so that if we accept the gift of forgiveness of sins that He offers us we can have the assurance of an eternity spent in Heaven with Him. This is the truth and the hope that we all cling to when someone we love leaves this life. But specifically, I was thinking about the things we leave behind.
Most people spend their lives accumulating stuff. This is never more apparent than when we move to a new house, or perhaps during our social distancing/isolation/quarantine we are spending the time cleaning out the nooks and crannies of our homes and realizing just how much stuff we have accumulated over the years. We may even have noble motives for pursuing these material items, we want to leave them behind so that our children are provided for, or some other motive similar to this. The thing is however, that all this stuff we leave behind is itself temporary. It can rust, rot, or be reduced to dust. So, the question becomes, is it worth pursuing? Or, is there some other legacy that we should be pursuing?
This brings me back to my grandmother. I knew her in the way a grandchild knows and loves his grandmother. I didn’t really know about who she was when she was younger, because children just don’t normally consider their grandparents that way. Over the years, I have been allowed glimpses into her life, particularly her faith. She was a believer, she grew up in a believing home, but she spent so many years as a wife to an unbelieving husband, and a mother to unbelieving children. How did she respond to this? She prayed. She prayed for her children, she prayed for her husband, and she trusted the Lord. At the end of the day, her daughter(my mother) became a believer after 20+ years of my grandmother praying for her, her son(my uncle) became a believer at the end of his life, and her husband(my grandfather) became a believer months before he passed away. By far the shortest time period in that group was 22 years. How many of us are willing to pray for the salvation of our family on a daily basis for 20+ years? How about 50 or 60+ years? She was, and she was rewarded for her faithfulness. She got to see her entire family come to believe in Jesus as their Savior.
How has this impacted me? I got to grow up in a Christian home. I got to grow up going to church and believing in Jesus as my Savior from a young age. I now have children of my own who get to grow up in a believing home and learn who Jesus is and what He did for them. You see, her faith wasn’t just about her. She left a legacy that went beyond her husband and children, it impacted her grandchildren, and now it is impacting her great-grandchildren, and who knows where it will end. I am reminded of Paul’s commission to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1.
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” 2 Timothy 1:5
Paul is commending Timothy for his faith by reminding him that those who went before him in his family, specifically his grandmother and mother were responsible for exemplifying and instilling in Timothy. It amazes me to look back and see the impact one person can have when they devote themselves to the Lord. Maybe you won’t change the world for the Lord. You may never be famous and have a name like Billy Graham or D.L. Moody, but the Lord can use your faithfulness to Him to change the life of someone in your family, someone at your place of employment, or someone in your neighborhood. It isn’t always easy work. It takes dedication, perseverance, and patience. Just like Paul says in Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” My grandmother didn’t grow weary. She prayed for years and years, and the Lord allowed her to reap what she sowed. First, by seeing her family come to know Jesus, and second, by getting to see and spend eternity with them, as well as in the presence of her Lord and Savior. So even during this difficult season in our world, do not give up. Be an example to those around you. Pray for your family, do not get frustrated if it seems like God is taking His time. Just continue to be faithful, because we know that he one we serve is the one who is always faithful.
I can just picture the other part of that reward for my grandmother’s faithfulness, that last week, when she saw Jesus face to face, she heard the words “well done, good and faithful servant.”