Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate and richest coffee. She searches for cherished stories of faith that still impact hearts. And, she digs deep into God’s Word, mining His eternal truths for herself and to share with others. Many in our culture today view the Bible as an antique to be displayed on a shelf or as a collection of old ideas that need an update. Instead Kathy encourages us to embrace the Bible as God’s timeless truth on which to build our lives. It’s a grace to welcome Kathy to the farm’s front porch today…
In mid-nineteenth century England, an illiterate orphan didn’t have much hope. But no one thought to mention that to John Monkhouse.
Born in London in 1841, his parents died when John was still a small boy. Although legally under the care of his older, married sister, John spent more time roaming the city than he spent in his sister’s home.
He played on the streets and hung around in the alleys where men gathered to gamble. He scrutinized the gamblers, fascinated by their games of chance. Could this be what the future held for young John?
“God used one simple act – a gift from a stranger – as the foundation for a family’s rich legacy of faith.”
One day, a stranger changed the trajectory of John’s life when he gave him a heavy, black Bible. John used that Bible to teach himself how to read and God used that Bible to bring John into a saving relationship with Jesus. From that time on, John centered his life on God and His purposes.
At sixteen, John married his fifteen-year-old sweetheart, Elizabeth. In 1871, the family immigrated to the US and John settled his family in Shreveport, Louisiana. John was smart and industrious. He started businesses and bought land.
But John also longed to serve God. He joyfully studied the Bible to learn how to build his life and his family on God’s principles. He opened his home to strangers, donated land for a new church, and faithfully told others about God and His great blessings.
God used one simple act – a gift from a stranger – as the foundation for a family’s rich legacy of faith.
Generations of believers, humble church leaders, and even a local church grew on that foundation.
“We never know how God might use one small gift, one seemingly insignificant step of obedience.”
The Monkhouse legacy of faith also touched my own family. John’s grandson Jimmy Monkhouse became a spiritual mentor to my father. Mr. Monkhouse modeled devotion to God’s Word and equipped my dad for church leadership.
My dad treasured his friendship and considered him a spiritual father. I personally remember Mr. Monkhouse as a godly man that constantly exhibited God’s grace and extended it to others.
We never know how God might use one small gift, one seemingly insignificant step of obedience.
We don’t even know his name, but the stranger’s gift to John Monkhouse fostered faith in generations to come, positively influenced an entire community, and helped shape my family.
Stories like this one – of families and their history of faith – fascinate me.
I particularly love stories of my own ancestors. I want to know where they came from, how they lived, and what they were like. Their stories help me understand how I got to be “me.” Maybe you feel the same way.
“While we can’t believe for any of our loved ones, we can teach them about our great God and create an atmosphere in our homes where trust in Him can flourish.”
The Bible places great value on knowing our family history, specifically our faith roots. The stories of those who have come before us can strengthen and encourage our faith today. Like the young pastor Timothy experienced in his own family, as we live intentionally for God, we lay a foundation of faith for those who come after us.
I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 2 Timothy 1:5, NLT
When our three children were growing up, my husband and I worked to encourage their faith. In hindsight, I see some gaps in our discipling. We could have been more purposeful in some areas.
Looking toward the future, I want to take advantage of every opportunity God gives us with our grandchildren, to constantly tell them about God and His love for them.
Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Deuteronomy 6:7, NLT
“We can tell our own faith stories, share God’s Word, and point them to Jesus.”
What legacy do you want to leave your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren? For other members of your extended family?
The most valuable heirloom we can pass down is a legacy of faith.
While we can’t believe for any of our loved ones, we can teach them about our great God and create an atmosphere in our homes where trust in Him can flourish.
We can tell our own faith stories, share God’s Word, and point them to Jesus.
Today we’re reading our ancestors’ stories. Tomorrow, our descendants will be reading our stories. What kind of legacy will we leave?
I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth. 3 John 1:4, NLT
May it be so, Lord.
A former “cultural Christian,” Kathy Howard now has a passion for God’s Word that’s contagious. With more than 30 years of experience, Kathy has taught in dozens of states, internationally, and in a wide range of venues including multi-church conferences and large online events. She has a Masters of Christian Education from the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary. Kathy is the author of 10 books, including the new, unique devotional Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith. She writes for multiple online magazines and devotional sites.
Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith tells stories of the past that will impact our faith today. These 52 heart-felt reflections reveal the seeds of our faith―seeds that sprouted and took root, growing through the centuries to today. Heirloom weaves these stories of faith and family history with Scripture, beautiful artwork, and ancestry research tips and techniques.
[ Our humble thanks to Tyndale for their partnership in today’s devotion ]