Almost 40 years ago, when I was a student pastor, my Aunt Daisy gave me my great-grandfather’s family Bible. This distant relative, William Bloomer, a grain farmer with two sons and two daughters, never made any of the history books, but his obituary of January 1878, pasted in the family-record section of his Bible, speaks volumes of the legacy he left his children and grandchildren—and, yes, his great-grandchildren.
“Many a poor family will miss his kind words and earnest inquiry after their wants, and when their wants were expressed to him, they never left empty-handed … may those who have witnessed the good example he left behind, profit thereby, so that when it comes theirs to die, may it be said of them as it was of him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord.’ ”
From what I have heard, it was William Bloomer’s joy in the Lord that prompted his joy of giving. His son, my mother’s father, carried on this same remarkable gift. Their farm home was visited often by the poor who wanted a warm meal—and they always received one.
Later on, my mother also carried on the legacy of William Bloomer, serving her God with “the joy of the giving heart.”
Father’s Day is a good time to ask what most valuable legacy we will bestow upon our sons and daughters. Are we bequeathing a spirit of tense living, a devotion to materialism, an uncertainty about life’s highest priorities? And what is our absenteeism (even in the name of Christian service) saying about our commitment to our families.
As father and grandfather, I am deeply concerned about the legacy I leave. Perhaps we should all be more concerned. And with that ...1
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