We love sitting on the beach watching the waves come in.  We live close enough to the ocean that we can go weekly.  We sit at the high tide mark and spend the day thinking, talking, reading, etc.  Recently I noticed the foot prints of people walking on the beach.  Their feet would make a deep impression in the wet sand, but sooner or later a wave would come and wipe away all trace of their being there. 

            I thought about my ancestors: parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.  They have lived their lives and left their footprints, but time has washed all but a faint memory of them inside of me (and a box of pictures in the garage).  Soon my walk will be over and my footprints washed away by time.  That’s the way life is.

            However I realized something else as I sat there.  While those ancestors of mine are gone and mainly forgotten, the values and impact of their lives still carries on in me.  The love they showed me, the things they taught me and the life lessons learned from them have helped form and shape the person I am.  I, in turn, pass that on to my children and grandchildren.  I have added a love for Jesus that now gets passed on as well.

            It isn’t my money they inherit, the photo albums that get passed down, or even the ‘family heirlooms’ that really matter.  It’s what I pass of myself and my beliefs that carry on long after I’m gone, even after my name is forgotten by future generations.  I find that very comforting.  I also find it encouraging me to keep building into my children and grandchildren because it will last.  Our footprints will one day be gone, but what we stand for will live forever in those who are touched by our lives.  The Bible says so (read below)

Deuteronomy 7:9  Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Exodus 20:5-6  I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Who has God put in your life to influence?  Are you using the opportunities you have to build into the lives of family and friends?  When you feel discouraged or that you aren’t making any difference, think of all the people your life touches and remember you are impacting them as others have affected you.

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