"You will have to haul away that junk," I said to the man who was going to help clean up the outside of my grandparents' house. It was junk that had sat outside for as long as I can remember, under a lean-to that was added on as an afterthought to the main building.
I was down there (and I do mean D-O-W-N there) in the sticks of a town that has 1 grocery store and maybe 700 residents. I was in the town I am from, both of my parents are from, 3 of my 4 of my grandparents are from, and a few of my great grandparents even lived there when they were children. It used to be a bustling farm, oil, and ranching area, but now it is mostly just deserted. I was there to pack up and move my grandparents, who had spent all of their 81 & 85 years in that small town. They were leaving their home of 40+ years, the church they had attended for over 70 years, the place where they knew everyone, and the land where their parents, siblings and children are buried. They chose to leave it all behind.
As I looked at the pile of junk, I saw the story of my grandpa's life. Items saved by a man who was born in the depression, who's father was a moonshiner during prohibition, who had gone without so much his whole life he could never bring himself to throw away something he might need later. I saw a lifetime of hard work in that pile of junk. There was a gas pump handle from the filling station they ran. Cases of brown paper bags from the grocery store that was attached to the gas station. A rotten saddle from the rodeo days when my dad was small. And at least 5 igloo water jugs, because you can never have enough water for the long,100 degree days hauling rock in dump trucks. That pile of junk represented his life of work and it was all about to be thrown away.
In that moment, I realized that this life is so fleeting. I have heard it said that after 3 generations a person is forgotten. Looking at the pile of junk, I realized it represented a lifetime of work and toil. My grandparents knew that, and that's why they could leave it all behind for something better. They could walk away from the only life they have known because they know it is all just stuff and junk. They know there is an eternal home they will be living in soon, and with these last few years on earth, they wanted to invest in what matters: leaving the legacy of FAITH. My grandparents moved to live with me, my husband, and my children, to spend their last days sowing into my kids' lives and telling their stories. Stories like how my grandpa's father changed from moonshiner and drunk, to a Christian man who took his family to church, who no longer "drank up" the grocery money but cared and provided for his family. Stories of people they saw healed, lives they saw changed, and prayers they saw answered.
"Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, their children to the next generation." Joel 1:3
"....that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD." Exodus 10:2
"We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders." Psalm 78:4
THAT IS WHY they threw away the junk! I challenge you to think about the legacy you're leaving behind. Even if you did not have a grandparent or family member to pass on the legacy of faith to you, you can be the first! Let's share the stories of God's work in our lives and leave an eternal legacy of faith behind.