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Leave a Legacy

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Article 29 of 37 from the Ponder This - 2003 series

July 2003 – LEAVE A LEGACY by Chris Smith Last week, had my grandmother been alive, she would have turned 99 years old. Though separated by 10,000 miles, the distance never affected the closeness that I felt for her. Elizabeth Ann Wolcott Martin was born in 1904; her father was an English immigrant to New Zealand, her mother was born in New Zealand of English parents. “Victorian” described her from the top of her always-perfect hair to the soles of her immaculate shoes. Needless to say, in style we could not have been further apart since I was a child of the ‘70s when ugly was in. My grandmother lived her life centered on Jesus Christ. There was nothing else that was more important. Her every conversation directed you to the Lord. Scripture flowed off her tongue and from her letters. Early on she dedicated her life to missionary service, eventually spending 40 years serving in South America with my grandfather, preaching the gospel and planting churches. (Paul & Christy Knudson are missionaries today in the city of my father’s birth, Sucre, Bolivia.) Upon retirement my grandparents returned to New Zealand. There my grandmother’s Christian service continued. She was a fervent letter writer, women’s Bible study organizer, prayer warrior and a self-proclaimed “televangelist.” (Burdened to reach everyone living in Auckland with the message of the good news of Jesus Christ, she began with the A’s and proceeded to call everyone in the telephone book. When she died she had reached the L’s.) At 94 years of age, my grandmother was still filled with hope and adventure. Her greatest adventure, however, was yet to come and she knew it. As she was preparing to go to the hospital, a trip from which she would never return, she contacted my aunt by telephone and said, “Don’t worry, dear, I am going home to see my King.” A life is what we’ve all been given; a legacy is what we leave behind. The legacy that we leave will be the fruit of our life’s work. I hope that for my loved ones I will leave a legacy that directs them to Jesus. Admonishing us to run the race of faith, the writer of Hebrews describes a cloud of witnesses who have gone before us, who inspire us by their own godly examples. He continues, “ let us run the race with endurance fixing our eyes unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1, 2). We, too, should lay aside everything that gets in our way of faith in the Lord Jesus. My grandparents are among that cloud of witnesses, as are many of your loved ones. Today it is our turn to live worthy lives that will influence those who are coming after. Keep your eyes on Jesus, remember that we are all on our way home to see the King. The choices we make today will be the legacy we leave tomorrow.

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