Heritage is what we receive. Legacy is what we leave.
Frank and I are at the halfway point in this exchange.
We've always been fascinated by historical accounts of families and how a path chosen by an early patriarch or matriarch would set a tone that flowed down through many generations.
Early in our marriage, Frank read a comparison of two families from the 18th century.
Susanna Wesley had an unwavering commitment and faith in Christ. Her prayers and life decisions are credited with influencing sons John and Charles, the founders of the Methodist church.
As the historian went on to recount, their lineage includes public servants in nearly every arena of life. Ministers, congressmen, judges, doctors, teachers. Scores of children born into the heritage of Susanna Wesley had a heart to live well and contribute to society.
But there was another family of the same time period - the Jubals - who had a totally different perspective. The patriarch of the Jubal family made his living as a horse thief.
When studying their lineage, one quickly finds societal trouble-makers of every sort. Bank robbers, scam artists, outlaws, prisoners, train robbers, the list went on and on.
It didn't take much for the writer to draw a pretty clear conclusion. Heritage and Legacy are very important matters impacting all of society!
As I said, Frank and I are at the halfway point right now for our family. We are currently both the "grandparents" and "children." (Since we're fortunate to still have parents living.)
Father's Day highlights this truth for Frank each year. He has always had a strong desire to impact others for good. He feels the weight of that privilege/responsibility even more deeply now that we know Spencer, Abby and Noah.
Every so often, God pulls back the curtain to let Frank know he IS doing a good job.........
This week is Vacation Bible School for us. Of course, Frank and I are there each night to cheer on the team and pray for the children to be reached.
Spencer is right in the middle of all the excitement. At two and a half he's too little to fully participate, so he stands by Mommy. But he's watching, listening and drinking in as much as he can. I even heard him trying to recite the theme scripture last night!
The first evening, Frank wasn't feeling well. When Joy asked what was wrong, he just said tummy trouble and sat down.
But the grandson misses nothing. He peered up at Frank and asked, "You tummy huht, Poppa?"
"Yes, buddy. My tummy hurts a little." Frank smiled into the big blue eyes; touched by his concern.
Without hesitating, Spencer put his chubby hand on Poppa's tummy, bowed his head and whispered, "Jeeshush. Jeeshush." No sweeter Name. No more precious petition.
Spencer simply, with child-like faith, prayed...........just as his dad, his grandads, his great-grandads, his great-great-grandads.
In calculating, we discovered that Spencer and Abby are both FIFTH generation Christian children. (I'd actually love to record the story some day of John's orphaned grandparents who were brought to America by a Christian organization. They were later adopted by God-fearing families.)
Decisions made over one hundred years ago by people like that now set the tone flowing down to our treasured grandchildren. The task before Frank and myself? Keep the faith strong and vibrant!
I can almost hear someone saying, "That's great for you and your family, Sheri. But my family tree resembles the Jubals more than the Wesleys."
Then Be the Change!
Make a determination that whatever your heritage may have been, your legacy will look different! It's totally possible for you to impact the lives of those not yet born!
Susanna Annesley-Wesley was the twenty-fifth child born to her father. It was said that her parents didn't have very high expectations for her.
But at some point in the journey, Susanna came to know Christ. And oh, what an impact for those after her. Oh, what an impact for the world!