A Passionate Legacy
By Pauline Hylton
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
My wrinkled 92-year-old-mama looked up at me as I entered her cheery green bedroom.
"I'm looking forward to seeing him again." She paused, "I miss him."
"I do, too, Mom."
"Him" is my dad. He's been in heaven for almost five years now. The longer he's gone, the more I appreciate him. If I could use one word to describe him, it would be passionate.
He was passionate about nature, about life, and about his Lord.
He took me poisonous snake hunting when I was a girl to show his Boy Scout troop our finds. (Our neighbors were not appreciative.) He filled out mammoth piles of paperwork to enroll me at Asbury University when I wasn't sure I believed God's Word, told him so, and lived like it. He stood by me when I rebelled, and opened his arms wide when I came back.
He made me laugh, and when something touched his heart, he cried. He showed me that it was okay for a man to cry. (Except in baseball.)
But the thing I love most about my dad is what he left me. It wasn't money. That corrodes. He left me a legacy of following Christ–not perfectly—but passionately. Dad was fruity.
He and my mom were officers in The Salvation Army. Often, when my dad preached, he'd march across the stage, paying no attention to the podium. Sometimes, he'd grab the back of his collar, face the audience, look in an imaginary mirror, point his finger and say, "Ray Wert, what are you going to do for Jesus today?"
It's a good question. A valid question.
I can know the Bible backwards and forwards, but if I don't tell someone about Jesus, or better yet, show them, what good is it?
The book of James is all about that. Believing. Doing.
My dad did that. Today, as I knelt in prayer, I read from his Salvation Army Songbook. He put brackets around a verse written by Charles Wesley.
"Jesus, confirm my heart's desire
To work and speak and think for thee;
Still let me guard the holy fire,
And still stir up thy gift in me."
Before the verse, he wrote a place and a time, after the verse he wrote in his all caps, left-handed scrawl, "DON'T LET THE FIRE GO OUT."
Jesus talked about bearing fruit in John 15:15-17, "I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you."
The passage says not only are we Christ's friends, but we're commanded to bear fruit. To tells others about Him. To let the Holy Spirit work in our lives so that others will ask about our Lord.
Dad did that. I'm looking at my life and desire the same thing. To leave a lasting legacy. To have a fruitful life.
Will you? Maybe you need to march yourself across the room by the scruff of the neck and say, "What are you going to do for Jesus, today?"
Ignite your fire for Jesus. Don't be a burn-out.
Copyright © 2012, Pauline Hylton, used by permission.
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Pauline Hylton writes from Clearwater, Florida. She lives with her husband, almost-grown-son, 92-year-old mother, and dog, Sam. She specializes in humor, or whatever else you pay her for. She’s been published in Chicken Soup, USA TODAY, Kyria, The Tampa Bay Times, Tallahassee Woman, and many more. Pauline is 50ish and enjoys teaching God’s Word to women. She loves the Lord, her family, and dark chocolate—not necessarily in that order. You can find her at paulinehylton.com.
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