By Jennifer Clark
I was worried when I found out the date of my grandpa’s funeral. It was on a Monday, and there wasn’t time for the newspaper to print his obituary before the service. I was afraid that there would not be enough people there to honor him.
The church was full.
My cousin Sean, a newly ordained minister, preached his funeral. I was reminded of Elijah passing his mantle on to Elisha as he stood up and delivered his message. Sean was not the only member of my family to follow in Grandpa’s footsteps. Grandpa’s son, Jack, and granddaughter, Julie, are both ministers as well. Three generations united in service to God.
I sat in the service and thought about my son, Jackson, whom I named after my grandpa. I know that my grandpa prayed earnestly that this blessing would come into our lives. How many hours, I wonder, did my grandpa spend kneeling before God praying over his family? What course might our lives have taken, if not for those prayers?
The Old Testament talks of blessings and curses that fall over the generations of a family. I believe that to be true, though I think the curses come from the evil we do to each other. A parent who abuses a child can often raise an abuser. The cycle can last for generations, until someone has the courage and will to break it. But the opposite can also be true. The influence of a wise and loving parent can also last for generations. When we raise our children, the future is in our hands.
It’s a scary thought, the power we hold as parents. That’s not to say that we can control the destiny of our children. But our influence, that will always be there.
So many times our family turned to Grandpa for prayer. Will Jackson turn to me? Am I living in a way that will inspire him to live his own life for God? I am afraid that far too often, I fall short. I want to be more like my grandpa. My son needs me to be more like him.
A legacy may be unintended. Children are led by example, and the example I set is not always the one I would consciously choose. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget the big picture. But I can’t afford to do that; I have a responsibility to my son.
When it is my time to pass, I want my son to have the comfort that our family had when we buried Grandpa. He had lived a life that was rich and full and dedicated to God. He wasn’t really dead; he had simply gone home.
We could have faith in God’s word:
“His lord said unto him, well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” -Matthew 25:23