A lasting inheritance goes further than a person's bank account

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My grandad grew up on a tobacco farm in western Kentucky. He still visits the farm, though it is no longer his. Like most teenagers of his day, he met, married and has remained married to a girl from that small town.

Like the others of what has been labeled the Greatest Generation, when his country called, he answered and went off to fight in World War II. Little did he know that as his unit was traveling overseas the major conflicts were drawing to a close. Looking through the photos of his Army experience you can feel a sense of pride and humility in service to his country. He lived, worked, raised his children and retired back to the farm, only this time in rural Missouri, from a major employer in St. Louis. Why do I mention him? Sunday is Grandparents Day and I have not talked to him in a while.

I do not know the origin of Grandparents Day. It may truly be a holiday conspiracy crafted by department stores, florist and greeting card manufacturers. Yet I have come to understand that being able to participate in Grandparents, Mother's and Father's days is a privilege that not everyone is able to partake in. The great influence that generations weigh upon our lives is not limited to recent commercial history. Throughout the scriptures we see the importance of generational interdependence. One such passage is the first part of Proverbs 13:22, which reads, "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children."

For most of us, an inheritance is immediately thought of as a financial gift. But a lasting inheritance is so much more than money. An inheritance is an investment. Even without money, a good man can leave an inheritance to his children's children because he has invested his values, knowledge and skills in them.

An inheritance is also a legacy. A lasting tie from grandfathers, fathers, sons, great-grandsons and maybe even great-great-grandsons as they sit together feeling a connection that stretches beyond the similar shape of their noses. I have never seen the original western Kentucky farm where part of my legacy began, but I feel its roots of determination and ingenuity every day.

Let me encourage you to not only receive some of your inheritance but invest in your own. Visit, or, if you cannot visit, then call your grandparents.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father and serves as the associate pastor at the First Baptist Church in Jackson.

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