Living Today for the Goal Ahead

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When I was in my 20s, I dressed up as an older woman to take part in a skit at a church’s ladies day in Oxford, Mississippi. When I looked in the mirror, I was shocked to see my Granny’s face staring back at me. I have shown you this picture before. Here we are:

And here we are again.

Though I had been told how much I looked like my Daddy’s side of the family, to my recollection, no one had ever told me that I looked like Granny, my mother’s mother. But there she was in my mirror!

We moved to Urbana, Illinois, when I was 31. I don’t remember ever thinking about what kind of older woman I wanted to be someday until I met Dorris Large. I distinctly remember thinking, “That’s what kind of woman I want to be when I get old.” Here is Dorris:

She was giving, lively, creative, fun, fun-loving, and serving — always. I never saw her any other way, and I saw her a lot!

In the 11th chapter of Hebrews, the writer tells us about one faithful person after another, and then in chapter 12, he writes:

Therefore, since we have
so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,
let us also lay aside every encumbrance
and the sin which so easily entangles us,
and let us run with endurance
the race that is set before us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of faith,
who for the joy set before Him
endured the cross, despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand
of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

We have heard of people who have a one-track mind. God wants us to have a one-track heart, heading always in one direction — to Him.

Over the weekend, Ray and I learned that “Ma Fox” had passed away. We didn’t know Ma Fox personally, but we know many members of her family, including people in each of the four generations she left behind. When Ma Fox died one month shy of her 100th birthday, she had one son and six daughters, 19 grandchildren, 47 great-grandchildren, and 27 great-great-grandchildren. Every person we know in her family is a deeply faithful believer in Jesus. What a legacy to leave behind.

One of those grandchildren is our dear friend Tammy. One of those great-grandchildren is our videographer Titus. I asked Titus to send me a picture of Ma Fox for me to share with you. Here are two.

In this first photograph, she is with her husband. Ray and I love this photo because it could be our friend Tammy. They even stand the same way!

In this second photo, Ma Fox is surrounded by her seven children and their spouses.

Granddaughter Tammy was the first of Ma Fox’s relatives whom we met. I remember her talking about Sunday night gatherings at Ma Fox’s house. I also remember when Ma Fox began to need people to take care of her at her home. I remember hearing how hard it was. I also remember hearing how well her children worked together to make that happen.

Ray asked Titus to share memories about his grandmother at our online team meeting yesterday morning. Titus emphasized two blessings. He marveled at how well all seven of her children get along with each other. And this great-grandson remembers his great-grandmother as someone who loved to laugh.  Titus figures that Ma Fox would think it was pretty funny that she missed 100 by a month!

Ma Fox’s obituary told that she was a loving wife, a devoted mother, and a faithful servant of God. That is the legacy I want, too.

The decisions you and I make today will determine what our own legacy will be. Let’s live today with this motto.

I press on toward the goal
for the prize of the upward call of God
in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14


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