Written by Steve Goode
Updated May 2013. Steve’s son Noah Goode with his Great Grandmother Annie Durham when she was 102. She is now in heaven having passed away in 2012! She died at 105 although we may have uncovered evidence that she was 106.
With all the chaotic demands in the world today for rights, benefits, and entitlements, it has made me consider what type of gift truly has genuine worth. Is there something out there that we are truly owed in our society, and even our family? Even when I was in policework I remember how families divided and crumbled over dividing the inheritance of a deceased loved one, and it begins to make one wonder what we truly deserve. Seriously, is there something I am missing here? Do we truly have the right to demand anything even if it is gifted to us? Money, a car, a house? Should these temporal things matter to us so much in this brief life or is there something more that we should be seeking or demanding?
Let’s talk briefly about what we truly deserve in this life from a Christian’s perspective. We came into this world as a sinner guilty before a holy God. (Rom 3:23) If you don’t believe me then reference the Ten Commandments and you will find that you have violated more than one of them. (Ex 20) If this is the case, there is a price you will pay for your sinful condition, which is death. (Rom 6:23) In the same scripture passage I just noted there is an invitation to a gift that God has made available to us all provided in the form of His Son Jesus. Without the atoning death of Jesus there was no way for us to bridge the gap between us and a holy God. Jesus is the Son of God, and second person in the Trinity who was born of a virgin. He was both fully God and fully man when He came to earth. He lived a sinless life and ministered as noted in the Gospels both teaching and performing miracles. He offered up himself on the cross to provide a once and for all sacrifice, and atone for our sins! He made a way for us to have fellowship with the Father.(2 Cor 5:21) As much as Christ did this “once and for all” work for us on the cross, it is a gift that we must take possession of. I can place a Ferrari in your driveway and leave the keys in the ignition, but until you sit in the drivers seat and turn the key, it is of no use to you. Can you begin to imagine all the people in the world that will never accept the gift Jesus has freely offered to us? Billions in the world who will never accept what Jesus has done for them through his once and for all work on the cross. An eternal inheritance that will remain unclaimed for all eternity that was there for the taking. Instead, many will spend their entire lives embittered to temporal demands of rights, money, and entitlements, which will be lost and tossed when they die and enter into eternity having left their eternal inheritance unclaimed.
Photo below is Steve and Noah at the grave of his father and mother
So my question to you is what can we leave to our family that will have eternal value regardless of the response of our sons and daughters?
I don’t know how better to illustrate this than to tell you about the death of my own mother and father, and the inheritance that was left to me.
Steve’s Dad pins his badge on the day he was sworn in Greensboro NC 1986
It was Friday, August 25, 2000 and my father had been in Forsyth Medical Center in Winston Salem Since the previous Saturday. Although his condition was critical, I never anticipated him not coming home from the hospital. I remember receiving the call from my work site in Greensboro that I needed to proceed to the hospital right away. I was met by my wife April on the Cardiac floor and she was sobbing. She said dad was gone and had died an hour earlier. His death was agonizing to me because he was such a rock of comfort and counsel in my life. The following year was defining for me, especially since dad was very close to both April and I. Almost three years later on August 16, 2003 I was at the bedside of my mom after she suffered an aneurysm behind the wheel of a car. My brother, niece and nephew, and I stood by the bedside at Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem as mom took her last breath on earth. They are remembered by me and many others daily, but what I treasure the most about their passing is what they unselfishly left to my brother and I.
You see my parents gave sacrificially their whole lives for the sake of others. I remember churches where my dad’s whole salary was less than 50 dollars a week, but he always preached million dollar sermons. Mom always took care of the ledger, and although there were times we were truly considered poor, my brother and I never realized it. My parents were always stewardly with their money, but never lived comfortably by any stretch of the imagination. So what is it that mom and dad left me that I treasure more than fine gold and precious silver? A Godly legacy. They lived their lives in such a way that I have strived to model their Godly character through my life and the life of my family. A Godly legacy isn’t just a good option, but a requirement for the eternal benefit of our family and children. You may not be able to control the moment and manner in which you leave this earth, but you can control the way you live each moment of your life now. “Choose you this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)