My grandmother grew beautiful roses. I remember visiting a few times each summer and discovering a number of gardens filled with different varieties. That was at the home that her and my grandfather lived in throughout their years of marriage and raising a family. After my grandmother had died, my uncle moved into the “homestead” as he was entering his retirement years. There my uncle kept the rose gardens and he cared for these rose bushes, some perhaps as old as he was.
Just a few years ago, my uncle passed away in his eighties. When I was asked if I wanted anything from Uncle Bob or his home, I asked for one thing that I think surprised some of my family. I explained, “Whenever I think of grandma and Uncle Bob, I think of the roses and the gardens. I would enjoy having a couple of roses bushes to remember them and all my memories of time spent with family over the years.”
Just a few years later, I have two tranplanted rose bushes moved to my home. At first I was unsure if they would survive the move, but given a few years of adjustment to the new soil, they seem to be doing fine (as you can see from the picture of the rose from that bush this fall).
In 2 Timothy 1, the Apostle Paul thanks God for the remembrance of family members in his ancestry that served God and set example of what it means to live for God. In the same context, he encourages a younger man, Timothy, by reminding him of his heritage, a grandmother and a mother who lived for Christ and served as an example for him.
I think it is important to remember our heritage; to reflect on the generations before us. Sometimes there is an unbroken line from great-grandparent to grandparent to parent, that serves as an example of love and service to Christ. Other times there seems to be gap, a generation or two removed from such an example. In my life and ministry however, I think it is rare that a family has no witness to someone who embraced God’s love and purposes. Often times there is an encouragement and empowerment found in reflecting on those who have walked before us. For me, and maybe for you, it is helpful to have “reminders” of our heritage. It might be a rose, a song, a book, or any of a hundred other things. Value those things which bring our memories front and center. Value the blessing of those who have gone before us, those who give us a look of what faithfulness to Christ and family look like.