Thoughtful Thursday: Building a Spiritual Legacy

There are a few things I hate that my kids will miss in life. Probably one of my biggest regrets is that they will never have known their great-grandfather, my Papaw Lee. He was an amazing man and a wonderful grandfather. He was one of those people who loved to laugh and make others laugh, a great practical jokester.

But more than any of that, he was a Christian. And his story of conversion is one for the ages.

My grandfather was born on February 22, 1922 right around President's Day, so he received the name of Jefferson Washington Lee. His mother was a Christian, and he was raised a Christian, but living a Christian life held no allure for him. He liked to drink, gamble, and party. His mother prayed for him.

Then on December 7, 1941, the United States was plunged into World War II. My grandfather enlisted in the Army and was sent to the front lines in Belgium. And his mother prayed for him, that this boy of hers would not be killed because he was not a Christian. As my grandfather's company crossed a set of railroad tracks entering Dusseldorf, Germany, he remembered hearing a loud boom, turning his head, and seeing a railroad tie flying end over end through the air right at him.

He woke up in London, England a few days later. After he was well enough to travel he was sent back to the United States. His service in World War II was over. By the end of the war, out of about a hundred men who were in my grandfather's company, only 5 of them made it home alive. This fact was not lost on my grandfather.

After he was discharged, he went home to his mother and told her that he was ready to become a Christian. He could come up with no other reason that his life was spared when so many others died. He was not even a good person, but his mother was a Christian, and she prayed for him. So on a cold January day, he was baptized in a local creek because he wouldn't even wait for the weather to get warmer.

My grandfather went on to help start a little church out in the country, the same church that I grew up attending. He raised two sons to be Christians, one of whom is my father. He was also an elder in the Lord's church. And I can't help but wonder, "What if he'd made a different decision?"

And so I ask myself this question and encourage you to ask yourself, "Are you making the decisions that will leave your children a spiritual legacy?" My grandfather was not wealthy. He did not leave his family a large estate or a large bank account. But he left his children and grandchildren with an example of how to live a Christian life and what an impact one decision can have on an entire family's spiritual future.

And in the end Jesus said it best, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?" Think of the spiritual legacy you are leaving your children. Is it one that will get them to heaven or leave them confused?

Sitting in the treehouse looking forward to one day introducing my children to their Great-Papaw Lee in heaven,



  1. This brings tears to my eyes! What a wonderful legacy! And what a godly example for us mothers of the power of prayer, steadfastness, and perseverance. Truly, your grandfather was "rich toward God". {hug}

    1. Thank you, Shonya. He was an amazing man!