Monday, October 21, 2013

This Needs Not Happen

One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty...They will tell of the power of your awesome works...
~ Psalm 145

My father has been with the Lord for several years now. He left all of us with many memories, and a legacy of kindness, faithfulness, hard work, and humility. I have an old black and white photo of my dad from his boyhood. It intrigues me. Standing on the rocks in the middle of a stream somewhere in Maine is my dad. Something is rolled up in his little boy hands. Maybe a ball cap? The sleeves of his white shirt are turned up at the elbow. He is wearing a necktie. A necktie? The first time I saw it the question immediately came to mind: Why was dad wearing a necktie? Was this an afternoon picnic after church? Where is this place? Who took the picture? I have wished a thousand times I knew where that spot is, so that I could know a little more about his childhood, and stand where he once stood--maybe as much as seventy five years ago. But I don't know the backstory, or where he was, because he never told me, and there are no living witnesses to that summer afternoon decades ago. Dad told me a lot of things during his sojourn. Important things. He and mom made sure that me and all my siblings knew the greatest story ever told, the Gospel. But the context around the picture is one he didn't tell me before he left, so I will never know it here on earth.

Each of us is leaving behind memories that are pictures and impressions in the minds of those we share life with. I, too, will also leave behind my story, Enjoying the Adventure. It is important to me that those within my sphere of influence know what my life was about. When I am gone there will be times when loved ones will reflect on: what I held dear; why I went to China; why I committed my life to advancing God's Kingdom; what made me tick, and a host of of other things. As paradoxical as my life is, I hope my legacy of successes and failures are unquestionably linked to God's glorious splendor, majesty, and awesome work. The collusion of God working with man will always be an enigma.

In the Psalm above, David spoke of how important it is to pass on the greatest of all stories--the mighty acts of God. Reading what David says, I realize that any family, no matter how far their Christian heritage stretches back, is only one generation from the scarlet thread of redemption being broken, and the spiritual bloodline ending. For this to happen, all that needs to happen is to not tell them what happened. How important it is that we live with an awareness of what God has done in our lives, and not miss opportunities to declare those deeds to the next generation. 

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