September 19, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

 

Principle 7

 

“I Declare!” A Tale of Legacy 

Van Walton, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

Director of Hispanic Ministries

 

Key Verse:

Luke 12:48b, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

Our family boasts a rich legacy of patriarchs and matriarchs, men and women whose works managed to affect generations long after their time on earth. One woman I particularly admire is my husband’s Great Aunt Martha.   I believe she is one of those people who was put on earth to be an example of how to live.

 

Miz Martha, as she was known around town, was one of six children. She was the daughter of a wealthy farmer and land owner.  Her family was unique for its time, as three of the six children never married – Mary, the artist; Lucy, the teacher; and Bubba, the farmer.  Martha married; however never had any children…biological children that is.  Sadly, Martha’s sister Kate lost a battle with cancer, leaving behind two grown children and several grandchildren. During this time of grief, Aunt Martha stepped into the life of this broken family and began the slow process of mending hearts. She gathered her niece (my mother-in-law) and her three children around her, to fill the void left by Kate’s premature death.

 

Aunt Martha’s home would become the backdrop for my husband and his siblings’ favorite summer memories. She taught them to fish in the river and swim in the pond., The pond also doubled as a science lab to observe tadpoles growing into frogs. In the afternoons, the children rode horses under the canopy of endless wooded acres. Ever creative, Aunt Martha planned story times, poetic recitations, and dramatic productions to be performed by the children. Life in her home during the long summer days and nights was anything but idle. The children’s minds and bodies were challenged so much so that when they returned to school in the fall, they had gained rather than lost a world of knowledge. 

 

Under Aunt Martha’s care, the children developed confidence and a love for learning that would result in two of the them pursuing careers in medicine, one becoming a teacher and one becoming an engineer.  Her investment into little lives produced future leaders and providers.

 

My husband and his siblings can no longer make the journey to visit Aunt Martha. Those trips slowly faded as the four children grew, chose careers, married and had children of their own. Then one day Aunt Martha joined her sister Kate in eternity, leaving behind her fingerprints on all the children she had touched.

 

Last summer my mother-in-law and I sat contentedly on the balcony watching the latest generation of our family’s children at play in the sand. Aunt Martha is no longer here to orchestrate their long summer days, but her presence still remains a firm foundation for building future families and communities. 

 

I asked my mother-in-law, “Would Aunt Martha have approved a trip to the beach over the farm?”  I wondered did she have any idea that the generous provision she left would enable a reunion trip to the beach each year for four generations of our family?

 

My mother-in-law responded with an Aunt Martha quote I want to keep foremost in my mind: “Aunt Martha is smiling from heaven at this family scene and happy to know she made this week possible. If I heard her say it once, I heard it a million times: ‘I declare! The more I give away, the more I have.’”

 

My Prayer for Today:

Lord God and most generous Heavenly Father, You have made it possible for me to live a blessed life. Everything I have has come from Your hands. Remind me daily to give as generously to others as You have given to me. Keep me from my sinfully selfish ways and guide me into circumstances that encourage and comfort others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  

 

Application Steps:

Read 1 Corinthians 12. Using your God-given gifts, step into the lives of others.

 

Consider your greatest asset. Is it compassion, a love for children, concern for the elderly, a desire to help mothers, tutoring skills or something else?  Begin to chart a course to help others and bless their lives.

 

Reflection Points:

Is there someone in my community who could use my attention and creative involvement in their lives during a time of need?

 

What can I do in order to become a wise and loving woman, one who is ready to reach out to others when they can no longer help themselves?  

 

How can I glorify God by fulfilling Psalm 145:4: “Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim his power.” (NLT)

 

Power Verses:                                                                      Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.” (NLT)

Titus 2:4, “And so train the young women to love their husbands and children.” (ESV)

Romans 12:1; 13a, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship…contributing to the needs of the saints…” (NASB)

2 Corinthians 1:4, “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” (MSG)

James 1:27a, “Religion that is pure and good before God the Father is to help children who have no parents and to care for women whose husbands have died who have troubles.” (NLT)

Additional Resources:
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God  by Sharon Jaynes

What Happens when Women Walk in Faith  by Lysa TerKeurst