Some people speak like the most important thing you could ever leave your children are things. If they don’t speak like that, they act like it. It is almost as if their greatest fear is not being able to provide much for their children financially, and if that is not their greatest fear, it is at least a wonderful excuse. I would do this for Christ but…I need to provide for my children and by provide they mean a new SUV, an expensive education, and all of that kind of stuff.
But back in the real world, it’s obvious those sorts of things are not even close to being the most important legacy you could give your children and leave your children.
To prove that we could tell story after story of people who did leave just that to their children and whose children were not really benefited by it all that much in the long run. On the other hand we could tell story after story of those who did not leave those kinds of things for their children, and yet whose relationship with their children was deep and rich and whose children ended up going on to make a significant impact in this world.
I was reminded of that again today reading the story of a man named Herbert Grings. I am sure you know how to click around and google so you can do the work of finding more about him, but I wanted to share this short piece from a testimony that was written about his life and especially the end of his life. I love it because it shows the most valuable inheritance one can leave their children.
“…God gave him ten more years of constantly witnessing and giving out Scriptures and leaflets, many of which he hand-printed himself. He visited his first field of service in east Congo and amazed folks that he could still speak those first learned languages. He went to Europe again and back. He wanted to chronicle another account, “Travels and Testimony of Herbert E. Grings,” but he lived it rather than wrote it. There was, however, that last Christmas, his personalized, hand-printed promise to each of his children. As always, his spiritual values had priority.
Still planning another trip, he took ill in Kinshasa, the capital of Zaire, and was hospitalized. He was just a month short of his 85th birthday, with sixty years of uninterrupted service for his Lord, when he slipped into His presence November 7, 1977. Our heavenly Father’s tender care was never more real than in those final minutes of life here on earth. The one who stood by his bedside was Pambo, son of one of those earliest converts back in 1936. It was he who now sang hymns and read Scripture to Daddy as he dropped his robe of flesh and entered eternal light and bliss.
What joy for the weary pilgrim to be home at last, moored on the shining shore and welcomed by loved ones. What a legacy he left behind! Psalm 16:6 speaks for us: “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.” And we might add, a “godly” one. Yes, that is what of lasting value he left us – not the few earthly possessions; a well-worn Bible, fiber hammock, a little cash. No, our riches lay in inner qualities –
(1) Knowledge of the Bible through regular reading from our youngest years
(2) Knowing and proving the power of prayer
(3) Memorization of Scripture
(4) Living for God and being in His service,
(5) The gift of those who prayed for him carrying over into our lives and ministries
(6) The example of his life.
Of material things he had little, but his treasure was laid up in heaven where it could be neither diminished or lost. And we have gained that vision for ourselves. As a tribute to our parents, we children had the God-blest privilege of serving for more than thirty consecutive years when there was one or more of us in the Congo.
As we close this chapter we find ourselves saying with a combination of admiration and sincerity, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!” If Daddy could have had a “last word” it might have well been this chorus:
“All that I want is in Jesus, He satisfies, joy He supplies, Life would be worthless without
Him, All things in Jesus I find.”
The second and third generations are carrying on in the course laid outback there in 1917. The great-grandchildren are being raised on the mission field as their parents were before them. Bob and family are in Zaire as is Roy. Bessie and Mark and their families are in South Africa. Louise and family are in Suriname, South America.
Our prayer, as you read this “real-life” story, is that God will stir your heart to live for Him. You, too, can prove His faithfulness and see Him honor Himself through you. One thing that will surely stand out in this account is the importance of training up our children in the way they should go – living before them the example of “setting our affections on things above, not on things on the earth” that we might gain an incorruptible crown.
“Lead on, O King Eternal, We follow not with fears!
For gladness breaks like morning
Wher-e’er Thy face appears;
Thy cross is lifted o’er us, we journey in its light:
The crown awaits the conquest –
Lead on, O God of might.”