My pastor had an experience that troubled him.
He was at an auction where he bought some old books. Down inside that box of old books, there was an old Bible. He and his wife, Sister Connie, took the Bible home and started to go through it.
The Bible belonged to a Mrs. Gardner, given to her around one hundred and twenty years ago. Sister Connie found an obituary that someone had cut out and put in this old Bible. It was Mrs. Gardner’s obituary from the 1920s. One of Mrs. Gardner’s offspring had probably put it in their mom or grandma’s Bible.
This obituary told how Mrs. Gardner had died in her home. It told the list of siblings and children. It mentioned a stepdaughter named Hattie Burkhart. The preacher who preached Mrs. Gardner’s funeral was Levi Burkhart of the holiness church in Coffeyville, Kansas.
Those of us with Fire Baptized roots have heard the name of Levi Burkhart for years. He was one of the early superintendents and leaders of the church!
Mrs. Gardner was a faithful member of the holiness church in Oswego, Kansas.
As Brother Johnny read this clipping, his heart was touched. He gave us the following message:
This Bible was kept in that family for one hundred years. That Bible that meant so much to this family who kept Grandma’s Bible year after year after year had reached a place where it didn’t matter anymore. It reached a place where they threw it in with junk and took it to the auction. It was auctioned away to a crowd.
I wonder if my children are going to cut the bridge? Are they going to stop holiness with them and take their children and grandchildren another way?
One hundred years from now, if the world goes on, will they take Grandpa’s Bible and throw it in a box and take it out and sell it in an auction?
What’s going to stop that? The only thing that stops that is we have to decide, it stops here! I will accept the bridge, and I will go with God and take my family with God.
My Grandma Sally was a holiness woman—a staunch holiness woman. Some of her children got saved, and then some of them backslid.
There came a time when none of them were saved. But she had a teenage granddaughter who decided to take the way. This girl got saved. Her brother married my mother. My mother lived with them for a while. Mom took the way because there was a bridge there to God.
Then Mom formed a bridge for her children.
My aunt Jackie (who was that teenage girl) stayed true as her mother came in, her aunt came in, her sister-in-law, and some of her children.
What will happen if you say, “No”? What happens if you walk away?
The things that you cherish and hold dear and mean so much to you, someday aren’t going to mean the same to your children and grandchildren. The only way is if you hold them and walk in them and take them with all your heart, if you live them the way God wants you to live and do what God wants you to do.
That’s the only way you’re going to build a bridge—a bridge that your children, your grandchildren, and your loved ones can follow.
Grandma Gardner’s Bible had meant something to someone because they kept it year after year.
It probably didn’t mean as much to the next one down the line. Then there came a time where it didn’t mean anything anymore.
I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine Mother’s Bible not meaning anything to anyone anymore. I can’t imagine because I crossed the bridge that Mama built that God laid down. I followed that path.
I don’t want my Bible auctioned off. I want someone to take it home like I’ve gotten Mama’s. If you see my mother’s Bible, it’s all worn out in the front. The cover’s gone.
But you don’t have enough money to buy that Bible!
I was looking through it one time and I ran across Philippians 1:6, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
My mom had written on the bottom, “Promise for John.” Every once in a while, I turn to that, and I read it again.
I want to have that kind of heritage for my children and grandchildren.
I agree with Brother Johnny. I want to work on a bridge too. This weekend, I have been reminding God of the promise that He gave me from Isaiah 58:14 that says, “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
Whether or not I have my parents’ Bibles, I am holding to their God today! I am claiming some of the same promises that they claimed! I mean to pass this on!