Ever since I can remember, I have had a love for horses! My family used to raise them back in the 50’s and 60’s, long before I was born. But when I was growing up, we never had any horses around except one old black gelding named “Thunder”. A better name for him would have been “Lightning”, because we could never catch him let alone ride him, so I would just sit on the fence and feed him sugar cubes only to watch him run away every time I tried to pet him. I asked my mother one day why we didn’t have any other horses and she told me they weren’t safe to have around and proceeded to tell me why. As it turns out, my older brother, Craig, was riding his horse the half mile to the little country school located in our back pasture. While crossing a freshly plowed field, the horse lay down to roll in the fresh sod and trapped Craig’s leg underneath in the process. When he slapped the horse on the behind to get him up and off his leg, it worked. But when the horse came to his feet he kicked my brother square in the head, a blow that took out a chunk of Craig’s eye socket and came dangerously close to his temple which probably would have killed him. That was it..., no more horses, at least that’s how the story goes. While processing my mother’s explanation, the synaptic pathways in my brain had not developed enough to come back with some witty, logical question like “Well, if you got in a car wreck would you stop driving?” And having just a little fear of the Lord in me, I let it go. That is at least until my eighteenth birthday when my cousin was having a farm sale and was selling all his horses. I begged my dad to buy me one of the mares. To my amazement dad gave in and bought one old sorrel mare with a filly colt at side. Her name was Two Eyed Speedy and as he wrote the check, the auctioneer asked him why he had bought the old mare. Dads reply? “She has great bloodlines”! And so, I set out for home on bareback. The rest of my afternoon was spent coaxing, kicking and cussing as I tried to steer her in the right direction, wondering what I had gotten myself into. After I got a saddle on her and learned a little more about her guidance system, I soon realized this horse was smarter than me. She could head, heel and drag a calf to the fire or even go nose to nose with an ornery cow if needed. Through the years she had many highly sought after colts and dad’s prediction about bloodlines proved true over and over again as those colts made their mark in the world. It wasn’t until years after Two Eyed Speedy died that her legacy was fully realized in a number of her offspring’s offspring who went on to win awards and competitions in roping.
As Christians, we too leave our mark on the world in one way or another. This past week, I had the privilege of attending the funeral of a dear Christian woman named Shirley Ann Beachem. I am more than a little sad to say that I never knew Shirley Ann or met her personally. My primary reason for attending was to offer pastoral support for two of Shirley Ann’s sisters and their families who attend our church. Her funeral was packed with family and friends and many others that Shirley Ann had known during her time on earth. As the Pastor opened it up for people to share their memories of her, it became obvious that Shirley Ann had left her mark on each person there.
Shirley Ann, herself, had come from a household of faith. One man stood up and told that he was just a boy when Shirley Ann’s parents had gone to a meeting and received Christ. He shared how they immediately came over to his house, joyously shared the Gospel with his parents and led his entire family to Christ that very night. One of her sisters talked about how their mothers dying breath was spent praying for the salvation of her children and grandchildren. It became apparent that prayer was answered many times over and is still seeking out the lost ones in Shirley Ann’s family today.
Young and old alike told of Shirley Ann’s cookies and contagious love of Jesus. They testified how she was the reason many of them had found the Lord and that it’s the reason they know she’s sitting in the presence of her Savior right now. The service left such an impression upon me that I just sat and wept as the living legacy of Shirley Ann Beachem was revealed in the lives of her family and friends.
Her life wasn’t flamboyant or center stage but instead was humble and filled with good works. That wasn’t surprising to me because I have seen those same qualities in two of her sisters and it reminds me that some of the sweetest fruit grows in the shade. Shirley Ann took the words of Jesus and put them into practice when he said “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Each one of us will leave a legacy in one way or another and for many of us, our legacy will not be fully realized until we are gone. You may not have had the greatest bloodlines but what kind of legacy you leave is up to you. I want to encourage you that it’s never too late to change the way you act or think. Even at the end of his life, when faced with the godlessness of the nations around them, Joshua declared “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. I encourage you to take a moment today and think about your legacy. Make your own declaration and live it out in front of your family and friends. Perhaps it’s as simple as starting back to church, or reading your bible or getting involved in the things of God once again. Maybe you need to surrender to the God who is relentlessly pursuing you because of the prayers of a godly mother or grandmother. Whatever it is, I pray that at the end of your life, you can say as the Apostle John did “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth”-3 John 1:4.
Clark A. Audiss