A Preacher's Legacy

You shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house,
when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
Deuteronomy 6:7 KJV

My grandfather went home to be with Jesus yesterday.  My grandfather was a Southern Baptist preacher for as long as I can remember.  I know he had a "former life."  He had been an electrician at a local factory and in the navy before that, but I don't remember him as anything but a preacher.

When I was a child, I would go to church with my grandparents and my great-grandmother. While I would guess my mother probably had many struggles as a pastor's kid, for the most part, I enjoyed being a pastor's granddaughter.  Sure, you were expected to set an example, but I was already used to that as the eldest daughter and granddaughter.  There were wonderful benefits to being in the family.  In the first church I knew him to pastor, my grandfather took me up to the bell tower and I saw that you really can have bats in the bellfry. I always had "back stage passes" to the pulpit and the pastor's office.  Being nosy, I loved to see what the speakers stashed inside the pulpit.  His home office/library smelled of old books and typewriter correction fluid.  I loved to pound on the typewriter (before I could type) on which he wrote out his sermons and the Sunday bulletins. 

Since none of the churches he pastored were large and wealthy, he was an old school pastor-the preacher, the plumber, the hospital visitor, the secretary, and sometimes the worship leader.  Sure, there was a pianist, but my grandfather led the congregation in hymns (and sang loud enough that it didn't matter if you were on key, tho I am not sure if Southern Baptists ever mind-just sing it loud).  I most think of The Old Rugged Cross, How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace (all Baptists love this one) and Just As I Am (seemingly endless verses during the altar calls).  And, as any good Southern Baptist, he knew how to preach loooooooooong.  We sometimes would make faces or gestures hoping he would wind things down so we could get to lunch, until my grandmother would catch us and pop our knuckles, anyway.

My grandfather introduced me to the God that would pursue me throughout my life, even when I couldn't or wouldn't respond to Him. 

I never thought of him as a "pastor" but my grandfather was a preacher.  He declared, sometimes with a forceful bellow and a slap to the pulpit, sometimes with a confidant's whisper and tears, John 3:16- "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."  He preached forgiveness of sin, repentance, justification thru the sacrifice of Jesus, that Jesus would be coming again, soon, and we could share in his eternal life (with a mansion and crowns). 

I can say I definitely didn't understand these concepts (except Jesus coming again which made me a little scared as a kid).  The KJV he used, and my sinful nature, made me think God was old, that Christianity had become irrelevant, that the Bible was just myths of long dead peoples.  I had a lot more living (and sinning) to do before I was willing to follow Jesus, not just know about him.  I do realize how blessed I was to be immersed in Christianity, because seeds were planted.

I know that my love of the Word was a seed that my grandfather planted.  I believe my desire to study the Word and teach others was a seed he planted.  I believe my faith in God, my trust in Jesus and my desire to see him when he comes again, is a seed my grandfather planted.  And he probably planted similar seeds in many of his family, his churches, people he met on the street.  He never did meet a stranger and he never minded telling them about his Jesus.

Though my family will miss him, and there is sadness, I cannot help but think how amazing it must be, that my grandfather is walking with his Jesus.  And one day, we will have a family reunion in heaven, with our Jesus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us
Hebrews 12:1 NIV


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