Living a Legacy of Faith

The relevance of this discovery was not lost on me…. A couple weeks after the funeral my mom started going through his things.  In his wallet she found a torn scrap of newspaper.  No other quote could better exemplifies the character of my grandfather and childhood best friend:

“Resolve to be tender with the young,
compassionate with the aged,
sympathetic with the striving,
and tolerant of the weak and the wrong.
Sometimes in life you will have been all of these.”

After retiring from the refinery as union president, Fairburn Moseley took on the job of chaplain for a hydrant/valve corporation in Beaumont, Texas.  My grandfather’s job was to visit and pray with employees that were sick or injured.  He thrived in this capacity as someone who showed mercy to others with an attitude of humility.

For as far back as I can remember, he was always present in my life. He was there at my piano recital.  He was there at my ballet performance.  He was there when I busted my knee in the driveway.  He even took me fishing.  So many times, we would sit together on the wrought iron swing in the back.  We would swing for hours on end.  Sometimes we just sat.  Sometimes we would talk.   But always, he was there.

 

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Every Sunday after church we would go to my grandparents’ house as they lived just down the street from the church.  We had a weekly ritual of ordering pizza and eating it on tv trays in their living room while watching tv and talking.   Our Sunday lunches were definitely low-key, but that didn’t change the fact that they made a big impact on me.   I can still smell the pizza and feel the warm sunshine that streamed through the windows over my grandma’s sewing machine.

Late one Saturday night, I talked to my parents and decided to invite the Lord to “live in my heart,” as Baptists say.  Basically, I invited Christ to be Lord of my life by asking forgiveness of sin and professing my trust for salvation in Him because of Christ’s sacrifice.  This was the beginning of my relationship with Christ.  This was not an empty act but the first day of the rest of my life. 

My grandpa recognized that…

I “walked the aisle” that morning at church and we went over to my grandparents for lunch as usual.  As everyone went into the kitchen to get their pizza, he sat with me and solemnly said, “Karin, what you did today was a really good thing.”

There was nothing profound about those words but by his heartfelt demeanor, I knew He valued what I had done….rather, what Christ had done in me.

His presence in my life was vital to understanding how God loves me.  I learned that humility and mercy go hand in hand.  Out of his mercy, my grandfather wanted to give me the very best but was humble enough to realize that the best he could give me was not of him.  He was a conduit of love, grace and peace that was straight from God.  In my grandpa, I saw Him.

The same applied to how he loved others.  No matter their age, not matter their social status or intelligence, he loved them with the very love of Christ.

baba

What God needs most are men and women like him, who are willing to be present, to be full of grace and to exemplify the very qualities of God Himself.  Because of my relationship with my grandpa, whom I called Baba, I was able to better understand the same kind of characteristics in God. –  He approves of me.  He never leaves me.  He wants to spend time with me.

So often I struggle as a parent to know if I’m doing enough to encourage her faith.  In reality, the biggest impact I can make on her is focusing on my own faith – spending time with Him and allowing her to see Him in me.  My greatest parenting strategy is nurturing my own relationship with Christ.  

The greatest impact we can make in the life of another person is loving them well and encouraging their relationship with their Creator.  True ministry means getting out of God’s way in order for Him to intercede through us to offer grace, mercy and love to a lost and dying world.

This is not a flash in the pan ministry strategy.  There is nothing hurried or showy about God’s most important means of discipleship – establishing meaningful relationships with others.

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Leaving a legacy of faith means desiring to give someone your best, but recognizing the best we can give is not of us.  We make our greatest impact on others by living a life that points to Him.  God designed us to reflect His characteristics by leaving a legacy for others like a bright light for others to see.  Through an attitude of mercy and humility that comes from God Himself, we can do that.

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Free Scripture Verse Printables HERE

My grandfather lived out Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you: to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”  God desires to free you from the burden of slavery and sin.  He is gentle and humble in heart – not giving us what we truly deserve but instead, lavishing us with grace and love beyond measure. 

baba

 

As I pass by this quote on my bookcase, I’m reminded not of the words on the page but the man who made them come to life.  I only knew him for 12 years but the lessons He taught me about how God cares for His own will last me an eternity.

 

 

Here’s a poem I wrote about him as a senior in high school:

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Thanks for taking the time to read about my grandfather that is still so close to my heart and memory.

Til’ Next Time,

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The Ministry of Motherhood: Reclaiming the Value the World Says it Lacks

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One day my daughter Morgan told me she had a big surprise for me.  She opened her little hands and revealed three of the biggest rhinestones in her “treasure chest”.  “They are for you Mommy!” she exclaimed as she just beamed with delight.  I put them in my jewelry box and gushed over them as if they were real gemstones.  As she got more rhinestones out of her craft box to bring to me, I realized that to Morgan these gifts were not just acrylic rhinestones that cost less than a dollar at any craft store.  On the contrary…these were her most prized possessions and she was giving them to me!

Since I was young I have heard the parable of the talents, however, I missed an important aspect.  In Matthew 25:14-30, a man entrusts talents to 3 different servants.  “To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.”

The first two servants were faithful and doubled their talents, so they both received the very same reward (vv. 21, 23). Although one came back with 10 talents and the other came back with 4, they were both given the same reward from their master….Why is that?  

The passage illustrates that God is much more concerned about how faithful we are with what He has given us than our perceived sphere of influence.  The Christian who is faithful in his or her area of service, though it may seem smaller in human terms,  will get the same reward as the person who is also faithful with a “larger” ministry.   In other words a businessman who strives to honor God in his business dealings will receive a greater reward than a mega-church pastor that is serving half-heartedly.

Often times as a stay at home mom, I feel like my influence in God’s kingdom is pretty benign.  I have come to realize that while I deeply desire to make a BIG influence in God’s Kingdom, I find myself using the world’s definition of “big”.   I forget to focus on what God sees as valuable.   The world values the bright, shiny “flash in the pan” ministry idea, but God values the kind of patience and faithfulness of a mom who raises children to honor Him – much like fanning a small flame until it is ready to burn bright into eternity.   Motherhood is not fast or easy but done in a way that glorifies God,  it has a profound eternal effect in God’s Kingdom.

It can be so easy to visualize what we THINK God has planned for our lives only to see that God might want to use us in a completely different way.  The apostle Paul is a perfect example.  He was raised to be a Hebrew among Hebrews and studied under the famous pharisee Gamaliel.  He was one of the most prestigious Pharisees of his day.  After his conversion, I can see how Paul might have thought his ministry would be to the Jews because of His background.  However, that is not what God had in mind.  God gave Him the opportunity to minister to the Gentiles, and Paul was faithful to follow, writing 14 books of the New Testament (if you include Hebrews).

There are days that my only opportunities to honor God are through housework or parenting.  However, it is not about what you are doing but the fact that you are faithful and using the opportunities He gives you.  Colossians 3:23 states, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  If I am scrubbing a toilet and doing housework to honor Him, this has more weight than gold in His spiritual economy.  

 God wants us to give Him our best- whatever that may be.  My pastor’s opportunity on a Sunday is to preach to a congregation, but my opportunity on a Sunday might be to be a Godly example to my daughter as we get ready for church.  Our audiences are different but what is important is being faithful with the role God gives us.

As I look back, I realize the most difficult phases in my life were necessary times of preparation that were necessary in order to be ready for the next phase.  The ministry opportunities you have now will be different than the ones in the future, so make the most of this opportunity.  The lessons you are learning are probably critical to the next phase.

If you are a mom, whether of one child or ten, you are in the trenches of ministry and you have the opportunity now to make an eternal impact.   Andy Stanley  once wrote, “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”  Know that God has you in this season for a purpose and he has NOT forgotten about you.  He sees every nose you wipe and every diaper you change and, ironically, your service is a fragrant offering to Him.

someone you raise

In Matthew 26, a woman breaks open an alabaster flask of precious perfume to rub on Jesus’ feet.  This perfume bottle could only be broken open once and probably costed a year’s wages.   More than likely, it was her most valued possession.  She gave Jesus her best as soon as she had the chance.  She didn’t leave the jar of perfume on a shelf to save it for a more lavish get-together.  If she had waited, she would have missed the opportunity altogether.

The woman took that opportunity to give the Lord her best in the same way Morgan gave me her best “jewels”.   It’s not about the world’s value of what we give Him, but taking the opportunities we have to be faithful to Him.  One day in heaven, God will reward such works with precious jewels that we will be able to throw at His feet.

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