We’re pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road,
And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary;
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace.
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize,
But as those who’ve gone before us.
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives.
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe,
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh, may all who come behind us find us faithful.
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone And our children sift through all we’ve left behind, May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find.
It’s very difficult to write an article over this song, simply because it doesn’t leave much to say. This has become the “theme song” for our family, and every time I hear it, I can’t help but be moved.
This beautiful song begins by discussing the faithful heritage many of us have been left by those who have gone before us. Like Timothy (1Timothy 1:5), I am one of the few, one of the blessed, to be a “third generation” Christian. My grandfather was a faithful elder in the Lord’s church for many years before his health caused him to step down. One of my most prized possessions is a picture of him holding my own daughter and reading her a Bible story. My grandmother, at 86 years old, is still visiting, serving, and teaching ladies’ classes. My father is a dedicated minister of the Gospel, and throughout my life I have seen him and my mother sacrifice not only willingly, but gladly, to further Christ’s Kingdom. What an amazing legacy!
With a legacy such as this, the question then becomes, am I honoring their legacy? It is sad, but true, to note that much of the time each succeeding generation becomes less faithful. While there are certainly many exceptions to this rule, this is the case much of the time. When we are blessed with a Christian legacy, oftentimes we take this amazing blessing for granted. In short, it is easy to become apathetic. May this not be the case! Let those of us who were blessed with a godly heritage appreciate the blessing that it is. Thank your parents, your grandparents, for giving you the greatest blessing in the world: the Truth of the Gospel. Honor them by living out the words of Christ every day, and by doing your best to share this blessing with all those you come in contact with. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
While not everyone has had the blessing of growing up in a Christian home, we all have the opportunity to give that blessing to our own children, our grandchildren, our nieces and nephews, and the people we meet in the grocery store. Are we taking advantage of this amazing opportunity? This beautiful song speaks so eloquently what we all know: actions speak louder than words. Think about the line “The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives.” Sisters, there is no other way to do it. Our children will not become faithful disciples of Christ by accident. They certainly will not become Christians if we aren’t setting the example for them every single day.
However, even if we are striving to do what Christ would have us do, we can’t stop there. “May the fire of our devotion light the way.” The proper actions won’t mean anything with an improper attitude. We must live the Christian life in front of our children because the Word of God is a fire burning within us that cannot be squelched! How bright is our fire burning? Is serving God Almighty and encouraging our brethren our #1 priority? Are we with our brethren every chance we get, or only when it is convenient? When we are with our brethren, do we complain? Do we complain about the elders, teachers, preacher, or our other brethren? Do we complain about the time we are giving up when we could be sleeping, hunting, etc.? Are we willing to forego our own wants and interests to further the cause of Christ? These are the things that will tell us how brightly we are shining for our children.
Matthew 16:26 reads, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” While these are certainly sobering thoughts, let me ask you, what will it profit a man if he plays with his children, encourages them in sports, buys them all kinds of possessions, and loses their soul? The only thing I can imagine that would be worse than spending an eternity in Hell, is to see my child there beside me, and know that it’s my fault. Is my fire burning bright enough that my children can follow it in this dark world? 1 Corinthians 11:1 reads “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” If anyone today can say that, it should be Christian parents to their children. Make no mistake, our children will imitate us. Will they be imitating Christ when they do so?
This amazing song concludes with: “After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone, And our children sift through all we’ve left behind, may the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover, become the light that leads them to the road we each must find.” One day, we will be dead and gone. What will our children be left with? Will they remember the mom who was always at their sporting events, but rarely had time for worship or to have their brethren in their home? Will they remember the mommy who was their classes’ room mom at school, but refused to teach Bible class? Or will they remember the mom who would sing praise as she washed the dishes? The mom who corrected and instructed based on the Word of God rather than her own wisdom? The mom whose door was always open to the brethren, or to anyone who has need?
You see, while being active in our children’s school and extra-curricular activities is a good thing, I am afraid these things can encompass so much of our vision that we can no longer see eternity. At that point these good things can become dangerous. If I accomplish nothing in my life but raising faithful children, I have been the ultimate success.
Another aspect of this, however, is what will my children find? When they sort through my bookshelf when all is done, will they find book after book on living a godly life, or will they find worldly books with bad language and sexual references? What about in the movies that I have chosen to buy? When they sort through the recess of my dresser and closet when I am gone, will they find things there that I am ashamed of? Or, when the time comes, will they find nothing but further evidence that I am a pilgrim in this land, and an ambassador for Christ?
Living the Christian life is a legacy. Brother Brad Harrub describes a family truly placing priority on Christianity as “A chain of unbreakable links.” If we are blessed by a godly heritage, are we honoring those who came before us with the lives that we lead? This also goes so far beyond our physical family, to every Christian who has gone before us, and ultimately to Christ. Are we honoring Christ with the lives that we are living?
Regardless of the legacy we inherited, what legacy are we leaving for those who will come behind us? Will the physical things we leave behind in this world affirm or denounce that Christ was our priority? Are we a fire burning bright and true, leaving our mark on the hearts and minds of our children? These are sobering thoughts that I have to seriously ponder every time I hear this song, and I pray that you will ponder as well.
May all who come behind us find us faithful.
by Lacy Crowell
Lacy is the Ministry of the Month Editor for CFYC and the co-host of our podcast, Fresh Blends. She and her husband Jonathan are both graduates of the Bear Valley Bible Institute. They currently live in Holdenville, Oklahoma, where Jonathan serves as an evangelist for the East Main church of Christ. Lacy enjoys writing and speaking for ladies’ days. She spends her days at home caring for her husband and her three daughters and son.
Find Us Faithful
Composer John Mohr
© Copyright 1987 Birdwing Music (Admin. by EMI CMG Publishing)/Jonathan Mark Music (admin. by Gaither Copyright Management).