“How To Be Remembered”
Message summary: The best way to be remembered is by passing our faith on. Christian ministry should influence people for Christ on our journey here below and for all eternity. It will surely have its disappointments when people reject our message or turn away from the faith. But the greatest reward comes from those who are walking in the truth!
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“Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends” (Philippians 4:1). “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4).
May His favor be upon you
And a thousand generations
Your family and your children
And their children, and their children
For many years we have enjoyed the perspective and story-telling skills of author Mitch Albom. Many of you have likely read “Tuesdays with Morrie” about a series of visits Albom made to his former sociology professor Morrie Schwartz, as Schwartz gradually dies of ALS. It probably doesn’t sound very interesting based on this description but it really is.
In his book titled “Have A Little Faith” the story begins with an unusual request: an 82-year-old rabbi from Albom’s old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into the Jewish faith he’d left years ago.
Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor – a reformed drug dealer and convict – who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a huge hole in its roof. Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Mitch observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi, embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat.
In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor’s wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself. ” Have a Little Faith” is a book about a life’s purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man’s journey, but it is everyone’s story.
There’s a perspective in the book that we both found very interesting. The old Rabbi muses that a very important sense of significance in life is being remembered after our death. But he candidly realizes how looking back we really can’t remember much about those who went before us several generations and beyond and how very likely several generations beyond us we will be forgotten. But he shared the perspective that as we pass on our faith we are being remembered.
Many of us have great memories of our own grandparents. However when it comes to great-grandparents I never knew mine and Brooksyne only remembers visiting with her great-grandmother, Stella Baslee, two times; one of them being in this photo when her 92 year old great-grandmother was in a nursing home in Tipton, MO*. However, few would know any ancestor beyond their great-grandparents and most know very little about them as well. But we know, genetically, and in many other ways each previous generation has impacted who we are.
Today let us consider our spiritual heritage and spiritual legacy.
We all have a spiritual heritage – We can likely identify our spiritual parents, those who led us to Christ and discipled us when we were getting started in the faith. For some it might be our own parents. For others perhaps it’s a Sunday School teacher, pastor, youth leader, camp speaker, etc. But in a sense we all have spiritual grandparents going all the way back to the establishment of the church.
We should all leave a spiritual legacy – Genuine conversion results in spiritual growth and then it’s God’s plan that we in turn become “parents and grandparents” to others whom we influence for Christ. Among the greatest sources of encouragement for earnest laypersons and those in vocational ministry are the people we’ve impacted who faithfully follow the Lord. Being fruitful they in turn are producing spiritual children through their witness and life. However, unlike our physical grandchildren, we generally do not know our spiritual “grandchildren”.
Ray Palmer wrote the hymn “My Faith Looks Up To Thee” in 1830. At the time he wrote concerning the hymn, “There was not the slightest thought of writing for another eye, least of all writing a hymn for Christian worship”. And yet nearly 200 years later his hymn continues to stir many. Can you imagine that which you are doing today can have an impact 200 years from now!
Paul refers to the Philippian believers as, “My joy and my crown”. They were the direct descendants of his ministry. But through his writings over the centuries imagine the scores of “spiritual grandchildren” he considers as his joy and crown. I think we are among them.
Consider some people you’ve led to the Lord and/or discipled that remain steadfast in their walk with Christ. The Lord gives us fruit for our labors and there is no more precious fruit than souls for the kingdom.
Our word of encouragement today is for all of you involved in any form of ministry. Christian ministry should influence people for Christ on our journey here below and for all eternity. It will surely have its disappointments when people reject our message or turn away from the faith. But the greatest reward comes from those who are walking in the truth!
The Lord bless you
And keep you
Make His face shine upon you
And be gracious to you
The Lord turn His
Face toward you
And give you peace
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we are shaped and molded by Your Holy Word, through the Spirit living within us, and by the people You place in our earthly journey who take us under their spiritual wings as they model Christ and impart truth in our lives. Their example, their teaching, their prayers, and their love for us further shape and mold us to be more like You. We thank You for these precious people of the faith. Just as they have been faithful to pray for us in our time of need, we lift them up to You and ask You to meet their every need. Encourage them in the faith so that they keep their eyes on the goal of the heavenly prize. We also pray for all whom we have impacted and are now impacting. May they in turn impact others. Some glad day we will all be united in heaven where we will forever worship You, King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen.
Great Grandma Stella Baslee: Though I grew up in Tulsa, OK I only remember two trips my family took to see Great Grandma Baslee, my mother’s grandmother, who lived in the neighboring state of Missouri. Her husband died in 1962 and I don’t remember ever meeting him. The three generation photo we feature of me with Great Grandma Baslee and my mother, Ruth, was taken in the summer of 1988. Grandma was living at Tipton Manor in Tipton, MO. Stephen and I had been married for 12 years and met my folks there in Tipton who had traveled from Tulsa. We were there on a Sunday morning and the usual chapel speaker who held services and led in worship did not show up. The staff learned of my role as speaker and worship leader at our nursing home back in our hometown of St. Marys, PA (at the time) and invited me to lead the Sunday morning service.
I was delighted to do so since I would have opportunity to share the Gospel with my great grandmother in the service. Grandma Baslee had never expressed faith in God nor did she ever attend church according to my mom. So, here I was at 32 years of age sharing the gospel with my non-Christian great grandmother whom I barely knew along with others who gathered for the service. It was truly the highlight of our trip. I’d love to write that she asked to receive Christ as her Savior, but I don’t remember that she did. And that I would not forget! Yet I was so pleased that I got to drop a seed of faith and my parents were very pleased as well. None of us knew that she had only eight more months of life, as she died the following April, 1989 at 92 or 93 years of age.
Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“The Blessing Zimbabwe”Video Dedicated to our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe and especially our Zimbabwean friends Noticen and Thobekile Ncube along with their sons Nathan and Neville. This song is being sung around the globe now with many videos posted on YouTube from different countries. The opening lines in our message are taken from this song of blessing.
Here’s another version with a global choir Video Hallelujah!!!
During this pandemic period a lot of great videos have been made using this compilation approach such as “Is He Worthy”Video This will bless you richly by Fellowship Worship
“My Faith Looks Up to Thee”Video Homecoming Singers includes excellent narration.
Yesterday I rode my bike on the Enola Low Grade rail trail for 5 miles along the Susquehanna River to the Safe Harbor Dam with my longtime friend Mark Pulliam.
The trail has lots of scenery natural and historic, including this old caboose.
Railroad spikes spell out THE ENOLA LOW GRADE on this wooden sign.
I took this photo of Mark in one of the small, long-abandoned railroad buildings. Looks like he’s a happy prisoner, the kind who might burst into worshipful song at midnight in his cell. Mark was my boss about twenty years ago.
Looks like there may have been a train derailment in this catenary pole’s past. In fact several along this section were bent and I don’t think it was someone with a baseball bat!