We want more for our children, don’t we? I think all who mentor their natural and/or spiritual children experience an innate desire for those who follow: that they go further. For us followers of Christ, we pray that our offspring know greater reach for the kingdom of God.
My grandparents, John and Dorothy Jonas, were my heroes of the faith! Upon retiring from their careers, they traveled throughout the United States and encountered people from all over the world. Their greatest joys were sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and seeing people place their faith in Him. I am a benefactor of their pursuit! Through my tear-flooded eyes I could see my grandfather before me, beaming with a wide grin and celebrating my confession of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. They loved to share with me the stories of people coming home to Father God’s heart. They waded out into the Gulf of Mexico many times to be a part of new believers professing their faith through baptism in water. Young, old, Americans and foreigners… whomever Grandma and Grandpa encountered- they shared Jesus!
My Grandmother read her Bible faithfully. With every visit to her home, she would show me her most recently awarded certificate for having read the Bible in a year. My spiritual mother obviously handed down a hunger for God’s Word- I made her cry during one of my last visits when she found me on her lounge chair in the backyard taking in eternal truths from the Bible. Both Grandma and Grandpa have received their heavenly crowns for having kept the faith, and upon her graduation and reunion in heaven with Grandpa, I had a sense that someone must pick up their baton and run.
Have you sensed a mandate to carry on the work of a loved one who has gone on to be with the Lord?
My husband has a rich heritage of faith given to him by his father, Bill Beamer. I always exhort Jon to run faster and go further. “It is the mandate of heaven to see increase in successive generations,” I say. I feel it is necessary to inspire greatness in those who have witnessed greatness firsthand because the temptation may be to think small and wonder if one could ever measure up to the example shown to them. I say, consider the foundation of Jesus upon which your forerunner built his/her life; take inventory of the resources left to you, and multiply them for the glory of God’s name! Remember the parable of the talents that Jesus told? Hiding the resource brought condemnation, but the two stewards who multiplied the resources entrusted to them were rewarded and commended for their faithfulness.
If a baton has not been handed down to you, it may have been dropped and the race abandoned. It is not too late to get it into your hands and run the course. Run the race in such a way that those who come after you will accept the handoff and continue the work of the kingdom’s expansion until the day of Jesus’ return.
“All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. For this reason, we have not stopped praying for you… that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every good way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light” (Colossians 1:6-9, 10-12).
(Posted by Renee Beamer)