a memory and a legacy

with my Papa Merton on Thanksgiving Day 2008

I woke to the clinking sound of a coffee cup being placed on the counter. I don’t remember how old I was at the time. I don’t remember what special occasion had me sleeping on a pallet in my grandparents’ living room. I do remember that I was lying next to my cousin Jamie. We both sat up to watch as our Papa Merton poured himself a cup. He stood alone in the kitchen with his Bible and Matthew Henry Commentary under his arm. Possessing the awareness that grandfathers seem to have with rambunctious grandchildren, he gave us a look over his glasses that seemed to say both “I love you,” and “Be quiet!” at the same time.  With a smile and mouthed, “Go back to sleep,” he slipped onto the back porch.  Jamie and I laid our heads back down and smiled at each other.

I still remember what he did that morning.  I’m sure that he thought nothing of it.  It had been his habit for more years than I’d been alive.  I doubt that he thought much of our watching him.  We, who years later spend hours on the phone reveling in the glory of Jesus in the book of Hebrews. We might have been two sleepy kids on the floor but we still got the message: time with Jesus and the Word was much better than an extra hour of sleep.

I went to a funeral today. Jamie’s Grandpa Tommy (who is a distant relation to me but not the grandfather in the story above). Another man who loved Jesus and left behind a wonderful legacy in his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We rejoice that his joy is now complete in the presence of his Savior.

I’m wondering about my own legacy. My pursuit of joyful obedience isn’t isolated in its effects. Obedience in the moment can teach obedience for a lifetime.  Moments can shape the eternal destiny of the next generation. As I’m thinking about my younger siblings and the students that I work with I’m asking Him to make me faithful for His name’s sake, for my own good and especially for them.

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