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It came to my attention that last Sunday was Grandparents Day and my thoughts went toward my own godly grandmother — Gram Rogers. I wrote the following to encourage others and I hope you’ll take time to read it and be blessed!
The Lasting Impact of a Godly Grandmother
The “seeds of the gospel” were planted in my life by a godly grandmother. From as early as I can remember my “Gram” Rogers was always witnessing to us through her life, her actions and her words.
I did not have the privilege, as some do, of growing up in a Christian family. Both of my parents had bad experiences with “religion” in their lives while growing up. They didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Other than that, my family was a pretty typical American family. My dad taught us honesty, good study skills, a good work ethic and to have a vision for self-employment. My parents were great parents, but didn’t teach me about Christ—because they didn’t know Him.
But every birthday or Christmas, Gram Rogers would give us a card that always had a Scripture reference in it. This was the beginning of her lasting legacy to all of us.
A Legacy of Stewardship and Generosity
Gram Rogers had to raise her children in a very difficult situation with an abusive husband and father-in-law who beat her children and beat her when she tried to stop them. My dad left home at the age of twelve to get away from the abuse and he worked for a dollar a day and room and board. He ultimately went on to work three jobs at times or two jobs while putting himself through school to make a better life for us than what he and my mom had growing up.
My grandmother worked hard to provide for her family as a single parent when single parents weren’t that common. Her entire life she provided for a daughter (my aunt) who was emotionally unstable because of the beatings she had taken as a child. Gram Rogers was a very successful at selling Avon and was also a real estate agent. People loved her and loved doing business with her. However, in spite of her success, she never had much to show for it. She was a good Steward and tried to live frugally as many people who lived through the Great Depression did.
Here is the reason why she never accumulated much of this world’s treasures.
She would take us for rides where she would bring food or other necessities to those in need, always sharing the joy of Christ with them. With her sales ability, she probably could have been rich in this world’s goods, but she chose to be poor in order to give to meet the needs of others—in Jesus’ name! I remember one June she gave my brother and me our first Bibles— on HER birthday! (Most people GET gifts on their Birthday; Gram GAVE them!). In that Bible she wrote, “Read Psalm 46:1.” I read it and it said, “God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present help in trouble.” I was thirteen years old at the time. Before I even knew Christ as my Lord and Savior, I had learned Stewardship and Generosity because it was modeled for me by my Gram Rogers. What a Legacy of Stewardship and Generosity! I am Generous because she was Generous (and really because God is Generous to all of us!).
A Legacy of Faith
Because of Gram Rogers, I had an innate knowledge and belief that God was who He said He was, that Jesus was the Son of God, that the Bible was the Word of God; and that all the things taught in it were true. In fact, even as an unsaved teen, I and some of my friends led our science class in refuting the teacher’s propagation of the theory of evolution with the facts of Creation. So, I knew about Christ, but I didn’t know Him in a personal, saving way.
Over the few years before, I had started hanging around the wrong crowd. In fact, I was a leader in that crowd. I had learned from the world the lie that “It’s good to be bad.” It made you popular with your peers. I got involved in all sorts of evil and juvenile delinquency that I won’t glorify by going into here, but the bottom line was that the “high” of performing evil mischief, winning a fight or drinking doesn’t last.
I was caught up in living a lie and a double life. At home, my parents thought I was a good kid (I was at home!). At school, my teachers hated me and feared me.
But then God….
But then God, in His divine grace and mercy decided to draw me to Himself. My best friend’s mother started a youth group at a small church in the town we lived in. Since it was his mother, he had to go. He invited me, and since they did a lot of fun activities, I went. While attending that youth group, I heard the truth about Hell for the first time. My Gram had always talked about Heaven and her desire to go there (and for us to go with her), but she had never talked about Hell. For the first time at this youth group, I fully realized the penalty that I would have to pay for my sins. Up until that time, I had been proud of how “bad” I was (do we raise mixed up teenagers in America or what?).
I knew that I could fool my parents, lie to my teachers or the police and get out of trouble. But for the first time in my life, I knew that I would, one day, face God almighty. I knew that I couldn’t fool Him or lie my way out of His judgement. I knew that if I didn’t repent and surrender my life to Him that I would face Eternity in Hell. My Daddy didn’t raise no fool! That night, I trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior. The “seeds of the Gospel” that my Gram had lovingly planted over the years, sprung forth into the fruit of Eternal Life.
I immediately saw the promise of II Corinthians 5:17 begin to come true. Old things passed away, and all things started becoming new. The Lord pulled a “180” in my life. Where I had been a leader for evil, I began being a leader for good. Where I had promoted hate, I started to love others. Where I had hurt people, I started to help people. Where I had lied, I started living in truth. All because of the life changing power of Jesus Christ! My best friend (who had been a backslidden Christian) got right with the Lord that night and we started living for Christ.
We saw our Junior High School turned upside down for Christ. My brother trusted Christ at my baptism. A year later, my dad received Christ at an evangelistic service at our church. About a year and a half after him, my mom got saved at another evangelistic service at our church. One by one, I was seeing Acts 16:31 come true in my own family (read it, you’ll like it). One Christmas, we decided to buy a new Bible for my other grandmother. The family chose me to write a personal note to Gram Humphrey in the Bible, sharing our love and our heart for her and the plan of salvation. Within months, she surrendered her life to the Savior!
After going to a number of Christian camps and working at them during the summers, I graduated from high school and went to Word of Life Bible Institute. After graduating from Word of Life, I had planned to go on to Liberty University and then to Dallas Theological Seminary. As graduation approached, though, my father counseled me that he felt I should come home to New Hampshire. I couldn’t understand why since there weren’t any good Christian colleges there.
Since he felt very strongly about it — although he didn’t know why he did — I felt that I needed to submit to his authority and leadership in my life. So, I went home to New Hampshire, got a job, started going to college at night at a local business college and got involved in serving the Lord in youth ministry and college and career group. Four months later, I found out one of the reasons why the Lord had directed me home through the counsel of my dad. My mom, who had been a Christian for only a few years, went home to be with Christ one morning. My dad was there, my brother was there and I was there. I firmly believe that God wanted me home to be there on that day and the days ahead to support my dad and the rest of the family and to provide comfort and leadership to them. Although they had started growing in Christ, I was still the spiritual leader of the family. I had the privilege of preaching at my mom’s funeral, and sharing the Gospel and the blessed assurance that we, who knew the Lord, would have of being reunited with mom on the other side of Glory. In that service, I had the wonderful privilege of seeing my older sister (who had been married and out of the home while the Lord was reaching the rest of us) come to know Christ!
Through the adversity of Mom’s early death, I saw eternal life spring forth! Out of tragedy came triumph! I would later see my dad marry the widow lady who had started the youth group where I was saved. In God’s divine sense of humor, my “Spiritual Mom” became my “Step Mom” and my “Best Friend” became, not only my “Brother in Christ”; but my “Step Brother” as well!
In May of 1999, I had the privilege of preaching the funeral for Gram Rogers. It was a glorious tribute to the life she lived and the Savior she loved. In that service, I had the privilege of sharing the Gospel and seeing one of my aunts led to Christ by Sandy, my stepmother and “Spiritual Mom!” Is God incredible or what?!!!
It is critically important in today’s world with the attack on America’s families, that we address the importance of creating a strong and lasting “Family Legacy”. People need to help instill within their children and grandchildren a sense of their “Identity and their Destiny“– both as as a family and as Christians — if they want to leave a good Family Legacy.
Parents need to start being intentional and proactive if they want to prepare their heirs to be Wise Stewards of their time, talents, treasures and their family’s leadership and influence. More families need to be intentional about passing on their virtues, values, ministry vision and even their faith to their children and grandchildren! In the latter half of their lives, I believe that couples should make these aspects of Family Legacy one of their most important priorities and missions in life!
What about your Legacy? Are you a grandparent or parent who needs to be intentional and proactive in sharing your faith with your children and grandchildren like my Gram Rogers did for me and my family? Are you modeling good Stewardship and a life of Generosity to your grandchildren and children? Are you just “building bigger barns” and “treasure on earth” or are you, like my grandmother, investing in Eternity and laying up your “treasures in Heaven”? What other virtues (character qualities) would you like to see modeled in the lives of your grandchildren and children and future generations? Do you have an intentional and proactive plan for communicating and transferring those virtues, values, wisdom and life lessons to them? Have you shared with them the story of your life and the testimony of God’s grace in your life? If not, you should! It’s part of your Legacy as a grandparent or parent!
If you would like to know ways that you can be more intentional and proactive in living out a Legacy, please contact me and I’ll be happy to share some ideas with you.
THE REST OF THE STORY
It had been several years since I had written the original version of my testimony.
Here’s the rest of the story.
In November of 2005, Sandy, my “Spiritual Mom” and “Step Mom,” went home to be with her Lord after an extended illness. She had lived a life of faithfulness to the Lord, had led many Bible studies, had sung hymns and discipled many people. At her funeral, her son Butch, one of my best friends and now my “Step Brother” had the privilege of singing; and I had the privilege of sharing a testimony of the many lives that were touched, directly and indirectly through her life. I am one of those lives she touched! Like the shoe repairman who led D.L. Moody to Christ, her Legacy will ripple throughout eternity — not only through the lives she touched directly — but through the lives of those others, including mine, who are impacting the cause of Christ around the world! Two ladies who left a Godly Legacy — my grandmother and my stepmother!
I am writing the “story of my life” and I want to write it well; to live it well, to leave a Legacy that will ripple throughout eternity! Soli Deo Gloria!
How will YOU write the “Story of your Life”? What kind of Legacy will you leave in eternity? What will your Family Legacy look like? Have you properly planned your Business Legacy? If any of those are “no”, please give me a call.
We should talk.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://220.127.116.11/~stewarf0/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Jeff-Pic-Headshot.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jeff Rogers, CEP™, Founder and Chairman[/author_info] [/author] [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]