There’s Nothing Like Family
In the words of my grandma, “There’s nothing like family!” It really is true, because only in the confines of family can you laugh, cry, pray, and love each other with no stings attached. There is something about family that just makes you more comfortable and helps you to be the “self” that you can only be with that certain group of people.
Alicia and I both have very close families. Up until this weekend, Alicia had never met my extended family on my mom’s side so I warned her that this side could be a little rambunctious. There is just something about the combination of the Walters’, Springsteens, and Seneffs that brings out the crazy side in everyone. This is not crazy in the “family drama” kind of way but rather in the tells stories, laugh, and be loud enough to draw attention to ourselves in public places kind of way. These types of gatherings are few and far between but there is something about coming together in my grandparents house that looks like something out of the 70s that makes you feel at home. There is something about that giant wooden table in the basement, the plaid couches, the patio furniture kids’ table, and the his and her’s recliners.
This past weekend was one of those few times as all three children, ten grandchildren, and eighteen great grandchildren gathered to celebrate the life of my grandmother who passed away a week and a half ago. People came in from Arkansas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and South Carolina because everyone wanted to spend time remembering grandma and grandpa. I was just seven years ago that this happened for my grandpa. Now a lot of people approached me with their condolences and they were very much appreciated. However, there was something about coming together as a family that was a great comfort to everyone. We laughed, we cried, and we remembered.
As we sat down around that giant table again we began to share stories of grandma. However, as we listened it was amazing how personal grandma was with each one of us. Each child, grandchild, and even many of the great grandchildren had personal stories of grandma’s influence in their lives and I began to think just how amazing our grandma was. Each one of us felt like grandma was all ours, yet she was all ours and all theirs to all of the other people in that room.
There words of the night were laughter, family, and legacy. These were the things that grandma and grandpa had instilled in us and now the legacy is ours. The fact is that a close family does not happen overnight. The reason that all of these generations were still seeking family and Christ was because Robert and Henrietta Seneff had set the precedent for it. This one couple had set forth to build a legacy and here it was right before our eyes. In many ways I felt like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob looking out on the growing legacy that would be the nation of Israel. Here I sat as just one piece in a greater legacy and I was proud to own a piece of that legacy myself. The fact is, legacy takes a lot of hard work! Families are not perfect, but there was something that pushed my grandparents, parents, and even myself to strive for deeper, Christ honoring relationships. Through all of the bickering, ups, and downs our family never quit and now look at 4 grandchildren who are in full-time ministry and the rest who are active in their church! Many people up my way (Pennsylvania) are talking about the legacy of Joe Paterno. Jo Pa was Penn State and his legacy will forever live on, but that legacy would have been nothing without time, patience, and commitment to excellence!
The question I want to leave you with, is what legacy are you leaving?
Youth pastors, I urge you to leave your students not just with fun events, a few messages, and tons of funny videos, but leave them with a mindset and a heart for the Lord. Your goal should not be behavior modification in your students. Your goal should rather be a legacy of a Christ filled life that far exceeds your tenure!
Parents, this is even more important for you life! Your job is so much bigger than mine! Let’s be honest, you students know your flaws, strengths, and everything in between. However, your kids are your legacy. When they go off to start families, ministries, jobs, etc. their success is a credit to you. Spend time investing in your students’ lives spiritually and emotionally. Most of all, just be there! I will never forget the fact that the ONLY game my dad ever missed was a football game my junior year after he went to the hospital after a horrific car accident. I will also never forget crying when the nurses told me that he begged them to turn on the TV so that he could watch the highlights of his little boy playing.
What legacy are you leaving behind. One day you’ll be gone and the question is, will the story of you outlast the presence of you?
Posted on January 30, 2012, in Leadership, Parenting and tagged Christianity, Church, Church Ministry, Family, Family Ministry, Leadership, Legacy, Parenting, Pastor, Religion, Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.